It is not enough to tell students that they should check the reliability of their sources when doing research. You still have to teach them how to do it! To help you support them, here are nine criteria that help identify a trusted source on the web.
These nine criteria are summarized from this Edutopia article. Check it out for more information and related examples.
Starting around the age of ten, young people should gradually be able to evaluate the content and origin of the information they consult on the Internet. This skill is essential today for both children and adults, so that they can make informed choices about consumption, for example, and develop a better understanding of the world.
The reliability of a website mainly depends on three elements:
- Distinguish the appearance and content
- Discover the source of the information
- Determine the authors’ intentions
Taken separately, these elements do not lend any credibility to the site, but together they help to exclude many suspicious sources.
Differentiate between appearance and content
Reliance on the appearance of the site does not make it possible to judge the quality of the information it contains. Thus, distinguishing between appearance and content is an essential learning. Here are four questions to ask yourself.
- Is the site easy to navigate? A web page with a good working environment for browsing will allow visitors to find information quickly and with a minimum number of clicks. He will not try to lose the reader, distract him, or take him somewhere else.
- Are there many ads or popups? A serious website will avoid bombarding the visitor with unhelpful information or misleading ads.
- Does the site contain any grammatical or grammatical errors? The website’s reputation will be greatly damaged due to linguistic errors. A serious organization will ensure the linguistic revision of its content.
- Do the pictures serve the purpose? The graphic representations of an informational website should not be intended to amuse or distract the reader. On the contrary, the images should facilitate the understanding of the text.
Find out the source of the information
Before looking at the site information, it is necessary to know the source. The About and Frequently Asked Questions sections will allow you to learn more about the authors. The answers to these three questions will guide you.
- Is a domain name evocative? The URL will provide information about the authors’ credibility. For example, .gouv, .gov, or .edu extensions are protected and provide some legitimacy. On the contrary, extensions like .com, .org or .net are assigned to anyone.
- What is the qualification of the authors? The trusted site will give the name of the organization it is associated with or the name of its authors. The qualification or title of the book must also appear. Some additional research may corroborate their reputation.
- Does the site provide links to other trusted sites? The relevant web page will recommend links to trusted organizations. One can also check if similar reasonable sources give the first as a reference.
Determine the intent of the authors
Depending on the student’s age, determining the authors’ intent is probably the most difficult. In fact, the intent of a person or organization can sometimes be intentionally concealed or misled. Even adults get caught up in it. These two questions will clarify that.
- Does the site have biases? Any trusted site will publish objective facts and not interpretations or opinions. It will not introduce bias and will not try to impress or sell products.
- Can we validate some quotes, pictures and information? A trusted site will provide original information or cite its sources correctly. It is easy to check the origin of a text snippet by simply copying and pasting it into a search engine. For photos, specialized tools, such as Google Photos, allow you to find the author of an image.
It is relatively easy to incorporate these elements into a landmark layout. Each learning activity or situation presents an opportunity for students to develop critical thinking. It may also be interesting to have the young person distinguish, using the above criteria, between certain locations chosen by the teacher. These are all opportunities for students to hone their judgment when surfing the Internet, a skill they can easily transfer into their daily lives.