CREDIBILITY OF INFORMATION ON THE INTERNET
Reliable information is important and today’s modern world relies mainly on the Internet for data and important information. In deciding whether information taken from the Internet is reliable, one needs to be sure if the site is a reliable one. There are actually several indicators that one can employ to check if the information is a reliable one. First, one needs to employ the accuracy test to assure that the information is correct, up-to-date, detailed, exact, factual, and comprehensive (Evaluation of information sources). The timeliness of the article also needs to be considered because what one credible author said twenty years ago may no longer be true now. In the same manner, a reputable source may give an up-to-date data, but it may be done in a partial way, rendering it half-true (Montecino).
Aside from the accuracy of information, one needs to know if the information is balanced, fair, without any fallacy or slanted tone. It is also critical to know if the information can be supported by other valid information (Harris, 2007). The goal here is to provide convincing evidence for whatever claims have been laid down. Documents must also have corresponding dates on the documents without sweeping generalizations. One other test is the consistency test which simply requires that the information does not contradict itself. Evidences of unreasonableness will manifests, if the data is characterized by falsehoods and distortions of the truth. According to the Pew Research Center (2001), there are about 104 million American adults who have access to the Internet. There is slightly more females of about 51% that are found using the Internet rather than males who comprise approximately 49%. (Eastin). Unlike the traditional media, the Internet has no ethical regulations which control the available content, thus it is important to be more wary of any information that it churns out because anyone can just post information and many can be misled by it.
Eastin. M. Credibility Assessment of Online Health Information: The Effects of Source Expertise and Knowledge of Content. School of Journalism and Communication. Retrieved April 12, 2008, fromhttp://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol6/issue4/eastin.html
Evaluation of information sources (n.d.). Retrieved April 8, 2009, from http://www.vuw.ac.nz/staff/alastair_smith/EVALN/EVALN.HTM
Harris. R. (June 2007). Evaluating Information: The Tests of Information Quality. Retrieved April 8, 2009, from http://www.virtualsalt.com/evalu8it.htm
Montecino, V. Criteria to Evaluate the Credibility of WWW Resources. Retrieved April 8, 2009, from http://mason.gmu.edu/~montecin/web-eval-sites.htm