Every reliable website has plenty of inaccurate, unreliable or simply crazy information. For careless, inexperienced journalists or researchers, these sites can be a minefield of potential problems. How do you know if a website is reliable?
Determining if the site you are using is reliable, it can be difficult, but here are some things to look for:
- Author – information on the Internet with the said author is one of the signs of a reliable site. The fact that the author is ready to stand behind the information presented (and in some cases contain contact details) is a good indicator that the information is reliable.
- Date – The date of any research information, including information found on the Internet, is important. By providing a date, the site allows readers to decide whether this information is current enough for their purposes.
- Sources – Reliable websites, such as books and scientific articles, should cite the source of the information presented.
- Domain – Some domains, such as .com, .org and .net, can be purchased and used by anyone. However, .edu is reserved for colleges and universities, and .gov means the government’s website. These two are usually reliable sources of information (although sometimes the university will assign a .edu address to each of its students for personal use, in which case caution should be used when citing). Watch out for the .org domain, because .org is usually used by nonprofit organizations that may have a persuasion program, not an education program.
- Website design – it can be very subjective, but a well-designed website can point to more reliable information. Good design facilitates access to information.
- Writing style – Poor spelling and grammar indicate that your site may not be reliable. To make the information presented easy to understand, credible pages carefully observe the writing style.
WOT (Trust network)
The trust network is an extension available to almost all major browsers such as Google Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer etc.
- Go to mywot.com
- Download the extension to your browser.
They collect opinions from various people over the Internet based on the experience gained from the site. Users can also comment on the page or blog rating. If the page receives too many negative reviews, the page will be marked as spam.
This plugin is tightly integrated into your browser and displays the WOT of a specific site as soon as Google searches for a specific query. The following is an example of a search.
Avoid commercial sites
Sites run by companies and companies – their pages usually end in .com – most often try to sell something. And if they try to sell you something, chances are that the information they provide will be tipped in favor of their product. This does not mean that corporate sites should be completely excluded. But be careful.
Beware of bias
Reporters write a lot about politics, and there are many political pages. But many of them are led by groups focused on one political party or philosophy. A conservative site is unlikely to objectively inform about a liberal politician and vice versa. Avoid pages with a political ax to grind, instead look for pages that are not biased.