Determining the Validity and Reliability of Online Sources

Determining the Validity and Reliability of Online Sources

Academic writers use sources to enlarge and refine their ideas and to support and validate their claims. These sources can include facts, opinions, the ideas of others, and they can be found in print or digitally, in the form of books, articles, lectures, reports, reviews, and interviews.

Most of the research you will be using for your research paper for this course will be found in the library databases that you learned about earlier in this course. However, you might also be tempted to use Google or another search engine to look for websites you can use for your research project.

While there is much worth knowing that you might access via the internet, there is even more information that is not worth the pixels used to post it. Below you will find two videos that review what you learned watching the CRAAP and BEAM presentations and take those concepts a bit farther. Click on the links below to access two videos and the CRAAP Test Worksheet. Be sure to watch BOTH videos. Each video provides unique information that will help you choose the best sources for your research.

· The first video, Evaluating Web Sources, shows why it can be tricky finding good sources on the Internet.

· The second video, Evaluating Web Sites, provides additional information that will help you find reliable sites.

· Click the link: CRAAP Test Worksheet for determining whether a website is credible and reliable.

Your Assignment

When you feel that you understand the concepts for evaluating websites, do the following:

1. Find two websites related to your research topic, one which you believe is appropriate for use as a research source and another one that you believe is “crap.”

2. Post the URLs for the two sites in the discussion forum this week. Explain why one of the sites could be used for academic research and the other site will obviously be inappropriate for research. Click on the following link and use the criteria outlined on the CRAAP Test Worksheet and information from the videos to explain your assessment. Although you do not have to turn in the CRAAP worksheet, you should still fill it out and refer to it when you are posting your sites in the forum.

3. Once you have posted your website addresses and explained your critique of them, look at other team members’ postings and comment on their assessment.

Help each other identify valid sources by confirming or questioning information that is posted about the sites. Here is a sample of what I will be expecting to see in the discussion forum.Sample of Discussion Forum Posting:My research topic is protecting endangered species. I found two websites on the topic that I think are interesting. The first website is not suitable for research:Website #1: The Pacific Northwest Tree OctopusAlthough the site appears to provide information about the endangered Tree Octopus and seems to be up to date, i.e. the last update was in March of this year, there are several signs of trouble if you are considering using this for academic research. First, there is no author listed. The only indication of a sponsor is a denial of any sponsor. Second, after a quick perusal of the site, it becomes obvious that the site is actually a joke and that it is making fun of anyone who would use it for research. Third, the organization that sponsors the site is part of the joke. Finally, the site does not ask for donations, but it does say that if you want to send them, you can. It is selling t-shirts and other paraphernalia related to the tree octopus. Under the tab for Frequently Asked Questions, rather than listing questions related to the website’s purported purpose, one finds information on how to pronounce octopus in different languages and a question about whether or not it should be called the Northwestern Tree Octopus or the Northwest Tree Octopus. Obviously, that is not important when discussing the topic of Endangered Species.Website #2: Endangered Species ProgramThis website is suitable for research. The information was last updated last month. The author and sponsor for the site is the United States Fish & Wildlife Service which is a governmental organization whose sole purpose is to study and preserve endangered species. There are no advertisements and the site does not request donations. All of the information that is posted on this website is cited. The sources include articles from professional, scholarly journals. The purpose of the website it to provide information on the Endangered Species Act, what it is and what it does. The website also provides lists of endangered species and articles discussing controversy surrounding this issue.Home work 1nstructions:1. Post URLs (website addresses) for two websites that are related to your research topic. One of the websites should be suitable for academic research and the other site should NOT be a site you can use for research. Then using the terminology you learned from watching the two videos in this module (and the CRAAP worksheet), in a paragraph or two explain why one website is reliable enough for academic research and why the other site is not appropriate as a source for the research paper.2. Once you have posted critiques of your sites, visit at least two other postings and see if you agree with your classmates’ critiques. If you do, discuss why you do, and if you don’t discuss why you don’t. Be specific. Use the specific criteria outlined on the CRAAP worksheet. Remember that the purpose of this activity is help each other determine where credible information can be found online. Try to respond to classmates who don’t have any responses yet.This is a post first discussion. You must post your work before you can see other postings.  You must post first in order to receive credit for the assignment.This assignment is worth 40 points (20 points for your original posting), and 10 points for each of two res

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