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Evaluating Websites: Objectivity

Learn how to determine which websites will meet the standard for use in college research.

Objectivity

Public websites indexed by the major search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.) can be a great source of information, but they can just as often be a source of misinformation.

You always need to ask yourself the reason WHY someone (or some organization) put the information online.

Is it to:

  • Inform you of something? (websites affiliated with universities will have a .edu domain)

  • Persuade you of something of something? (propaganda or astroturfing)

  • Sell you something? (company websites, usually .com or .net)

 

Always check the "about us" link on a web page.


Is the page's bias obvious? Or is it hidden?

 

Click on the picture to check out this website. 

Look at the "About Us" section. Check out the Board of Directors.  What affiliation does the Chairman of the Board have with the ACLU? Do you think he is able to be objective about it?



  • What is the purpose of the page?

  • Does the page present factual information? Why was this page written and for whom?

  • Is there advertising on the page? Can you tell the difference between advertising and information?

  • What is NOT being said?