Boolify Lesson Plan: Evaluating Websites

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A project of the Public Learning Media Laboratory

Website: Important Questions for Evaluating Web & Research Material The following questions represent some of the important qualities to know about information when exploring its relevance to your work. All resources have been written by someone an expert or, in many cases, not. Whether the information you are browsing is located in a newspaper, wiki or peer-reviewed journal, there are some fundamental answers you must know in order to sift the poor-quality information from the rich: Start with the basics: Who authored the article, web page or resource? Does a web search pull up their biography? What have they done that makes them an expert? When was it authored? Have other lines of research or work filled in gaps, or provided new theories? What group of individuals was the article written to inform? Was the article peer-reviewed, and by what body of people? If the article is located in a place where commenting is allowed, what insights can you glean through reading the comments?

Further identify: What is its bias? If funded, who provided the funding? What evidence can you find, elsewhere, that corroborates or refutes the research that you have found?

Activity: Have students evaluate What evidence can they find that confirms or disproves this hypothesis? (Worksheet, page 2; note that fine web evaluation criteria can be found in many locations on the web, as noted below). Further reading: Cornell Universitys Evaluating Websites: Criteria and Tools page presents a range of high-quality information.

A project of the Public Learning Media Laboratory

A project of the Public Learning Media Laboratory

Evaluating Websites Your Name: Activity: Your instructor has probably given you some guidelines for evaluating websites. Use these guidelines to evaluate the website located at: Imagine that youre the City Public Health Director. Thats a tough position, you know! Guess what? Your life just became harder. The local radio station has released information about a serious-sounding substance, Dihydrogen Monoxide (DHMO), and its up to you to prove to the scared population that its real, or a hoax. The radio station found information about DHMO on a website, What are five pieces of information you can find about the site that tell you it is legitimate?

What are five pieces of information that you can believe prove the website is presenting inaccurate?

What do you tell the scared people in your city?