Weighing Information for Its Worth

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A closeup photo of the waters flooding over the brim at Niagara Falls.

Don’t let the flood of info on the web sweep you away!

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Alert! Alert! 
Because NICHCY’s website will only remain online until September 30, 2014, most of its rich content has moved to a new home, the Center for Parent Information and Resources (CPIR), where it can be kept up to date. 

The new address of Weighing Information for Its Worth at the CPIR is:
http://www.parentcenterhub.org/repository/weighinginfo/

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Updated November 2010

NICHCY’s web resource pages are designed to put you in quick contact with information that’s readily available on the Internet. But if you’ve traveled the web searching for information, you’ve probably already discovered that sometimes it’s like being hit by a tidal wave. How do you weigh what you’re seeing?

This page takes up that very real concern. As we rely more and more on the Internet for information, and as we seek to base our decisions upon research evidence, it’s important to consider the information, and its source, through the lens of a cautious consumer. But how do we do that? The resources listed below will hopefully shed light on the “how” of weighing information, as well as the “why.”

Finding Information

Where can you find research information?
Here’s a quick list to jog your thinking, part of Monroe Community College’s online guide to help students prepare research papers.
www.monroecc.edu/depts/library/resour.htm

Research guides & bibliographies.
From the University of Southern California.
http://libguides.usc.edu/content.php?pid=20343&sid=143161

Think about biases in point of view–both yours and the info’s.
www.virtualsalt.com/infobias.htm

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Can You Trust Information from that Book or Journal?

Evaluate information for its authority and appropriateness for your research.
From the library at UC Berkeley.
www.lib.berkeley.edu/TeachingLib/Guides/Evaluation.html

How to critically analyze information sources.
From the Cornell University Library.
www.library.cornell.edu/olinuris/ref/research/skill26.htm

Tips for evaluating the trustworthiness of a research study.
From the Oulu University Library.
http://herkules.oulu.fi/isbn9514272463/html/x321.html

Assessing the methodological quality of published papers.
http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/full/315/7103/305

Is this a scholarly journal or some other kind of publication?
From the Cornell University Library.
www.library.cornell.edu/olinuris/ref/research/skill20.html

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Can You Trust Information from that Web Site?

Find out who owns the site–is it who it seems to be?
The WHOIS public database displays a domain name holder’s contact information.
www.networksolutions.com/en_US/whois/index.jhtml

Tips for evaluating the quality and reliability of Internet resources.
www.virtualsalt.com/evalu8it.htm

More tips–techniques to apply & questions to ask.
From the library at UC Berkeley.
www.lib.berkeley.edu/TeachingLib/Guides/Internet/Evaluate.html

On being a savvy consumer of Web sites.
From Discovery Education.
http://school.discoveryeducation.com/schrockguide/eval.html

Help with evaluating and selecting resources.
More from Monroe Community College to guide users of research.
www.monroecc.edu/depts/library/eval.htm

How to evaluate the trustworthiness of a website.
http://websearch.about.com/od/referencesearch/a/evaluatesource.htm

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Resource Tools

Print and use this website checklist.
From the library at UC Berkeley.
www.lib.berkeley.edu/TeachingLib/Guides/Internet/EvalForm.pdf

Glossary of Internet and website jargon.
From UC Berkeley.
http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/TeachingLib/Guides/Internet/Glossary.html

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Would you like to visit another of NICHCY’s resource pages in our Research Basics series?

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NOTICE: NICHCY is going away, but its resources are not. Find hundreds of legacy NICHCY publications, as well as our training curriculum on IDEA 2004, in the Center for Parent Information and Resources' Library at http://www.parentcenterhub.org/resources. This website will remain available until September 30, 2014. After that date, web visitors will be automatically redirected to http://www.parentcenterhub.org.