Search engines are a useful tool, but how can students get the best results from them? This programme helps students develop a critical approach to conducting online research.
The web address will indicate the type of site it is and therefore something of the authority, accuracy, purpose and even intended audience of the site:
.gov = government site
.edu = educational site
.com = commercial site
.org/.net = organisational site
The web address will also give you an indication of geographical relevance:
.au = Australia
.uk = United Kingdon
.jp = Japan
Wikipedia is very good in terms of its "currency" and the background information it provides. It has a transparent editorial process where you can access discussions around the information included.
But remember that like the internet generally the contributors to Wikipedia have no necessary "authority" or expertise. It is important to check the information for "accuracy". Don't rely on information you obtain there and ensure that it is consistent with other sources.
The concept of 'fake news' has received a lot of publicity in recent times, particularly in light of the recent American elections. Just as there may be fake news on social media, there are also of course fake websites. Read this recent article from The Wall Street Journal about a recent study undertaken by Stanford University. The study was conducted using almost 8000 middle school through to undergraduate students and around 82% of these student could not distinguish between fake news and reliable news on websites.
We all know that anyone can publish to the internet right? Where better to design and promote a fake news story than through social media, especially if news sites get hold of it and you can potentially reap the rewards of advertising. Read this interesting article from Scientific American about how fake news and news sites are being promoted through social media.
Now, have a look at this Blog post about what to watch out for and how to be news savvy and catch out fake news!
And watch this video from the Behind the News! (ABC ME November 29, 2016)