Skip to main content

Fracking: Web Resources

Evaluating web resources - AAOCC

Find an interesting website using Google or another browser? Not sure if you can use it for academic research? It is not always easy to determine if information on the World Wide Web is credible. However, the guidelines below will help you understand clues about the reliability of web resources.

 Authority

  • Who are the authors? Are they qualified? Are they credible?
  • With whom are they affiliated? Does their affiliation affect their credibility?
  • Who is the publisher? What is their reputation?

Accuracy

  • Is the information accurate? Is it reliable and error-free?
  • Are the interpretations and implications reasonable?
  • Is there evidence to support conclusions? Is it verifiable?
  • Do the authors list their sources, references, or citations?

Objectivity

  • What is the purpose? What do the authors want to accomplish?
  • Does this purpose affect the presentation?
  • Is there an implicit or explicit bias?
  • Is the information fact or opinion?

Currency

  • Is the information current? Is it still valid?
  • Has it been superseded by subsequent research?

Coverage

  • Is the information relevant to your topic and assignment?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Is the material presented at an appropriate level?
  • Is the information complete? Is it unique?

Science Libraries at UC Berkeley - http://lib.berkeley.edu/sciences/guides/how_to_evaluate_electronic_resources

About using Wikipedia

Wikipedia is a great tool for a summary of a topic. Wikipedia content is constantly revised, and entries vary in quality. Some of the content is excellent, some is questionable.

Many educators frown on the use of Wikipedia. Why?

  • Wikipedia content is not necessarily written by subject experts, and may be inadequate or incorrect.
  • Articles in Wikipedia may be changed or deleted between viewings.
  • For research papers, you need authoritative resources, so it is absolutely necessary to consult other sources.
  • Anyone can search Google or find a Wikipedia article. To demonstrate academic skill, it is important to go beyond these basic tools.

How can you use Wikipedia in a way that benefits your research process?

  • Scan the article to get general information and terms you can use as keywords for further searching.
  • Scan the article for references. Sometimes these can lead you to excellent books or articles that you can find at the EVC Library or through our collection of databases.
  • Don't reference Wikipedia articles in your paper, unless you are pointing out something specific to Wikipedia.
  • As you read Wikipedia articles, you may read notations that call for more evidence, or call attention to bias. These are very constructive principles that apply to your own work. What if Wikipedia editors read your work? Would they mark areas for revision?