In this discussion, we’re going to look at the latter type of web sources–sources that force us to wrestle a bit with the complexities of web source evaluation. So, don’t use academic-article databases or news sources that are well known and that have been around since before the internet–for example: USA Today, The New York Times, The Guardian, The Philadelphia Inquirer, CNN, Time, etc. (You may not yet be familiar with what is and isn’t a major, longstanding news source, but a quick Wikipedia search should help. For example, if you look up The Philadelphia Inquirer on Wikipedia, you’ll see that it was founded in 1829.)
To get started, do some web searching using terms from your research question and any synonyms or additional search terms that proved helpful to you in the Web Search Activity (or in case you did the optional practice work for this assignment: Do a News Search).
Copy down the URLs of a few web pages that contain information on your topic. Then choose one page to focus on in your discussion post. It’s okay if you have reservations about the reliability of this source–the purpose here is mainly to ask questions about sources.
Your post should address all four of the following:
- What is the home page of the main site on which this page appears (provide the URL), and what can you learn about the main site?
- What are the author’s qualifications for writing on this topic? (If no author/s, write “no author listed” and skip to the next question.)
- Should this source be considered “reliable,” “expert,” or both? Explain.
- How would this source be cited in APA. Include a full citation. (Scroll down for web citation examples. If you’re an English major, go ahead and use MLA format instead.)
Here are some strategies you can use to answer questions 1 through 3:
- If there is no link to the home page on the page you are viewing, try drilling back in the URL to the site’s domain abbreviation (com, edu, mil, org, gov, etc.). For example:
- Look for an author biography on the page, or via a link.
- Look for links with names like “About” and “FAQ” that are likely to lead you to additional information about the site.
- Do a web search for the author.
- Do a web search for the site by its name, or by the name of its sponsoring organization. (To filter out the site itself in the latter search, use -site (example: “yahoo voices” -site:voices.yahoo.com))
- Search LexisNexis or ProQuest Newsstand to see if/how journalists have described the organization or author in news stories.
WEB SOURCE CITATION HELP
Citing web sources can be tricky. Here is the basic format: APA Style Guide 7e: Electronic Resources: Webpage Guidelines
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