Teaching Critical Evaluation Skills for World Wide Web Resources

By Tate, Marsha; Alexander, Jan | Computers in Libraries, November/December 1996 | Go to article overview

Teaching Critical Evaluation Skills for World Wide Web Resources


Tate, Marsha, Alexander, Jan, Computers in Libraries


"As librarians, we are in a unique position to teach these skills."

The World Wide Web's accessibility and ease of use have encouraged a proliferation of Web resources on almost every imaginable topic. Due to the wealth of information available, the Web is becoming a widely used research tool. However, one major problem associated with Webbased research is how to determine the quality of information found on the Web. This problem has intensified as more and more resources are placed and distributed on the Web without editors and fact checkers (the traditional gatekeepers for print publications) monitoring them to assure quality. In the future this problem will only intensify further as increasing numbers of individuals publish material on the Web.

Given the extremely uneven quality of material on the Web, it is critical that Web users learn how to evaluate the material they find. As librarians, we are in a unique position to teach these skills because of our extensive experience in evaluating the quality of a wide variety of materials, and the fact that so many of us are involved in Internet training. [Editor's Note: For an additional discussion of Web resource evaluation, see Scott Brandt's techman's techPage column, "Evaluating Information on the Internet," on page 44 of the May 1996 issue of CIL.]

To help users of the Web gain the critical thinking skills they need to successfully evaluate Web resources, we have developed the three-part lesson plan presented in this article.

Lesson Plan Summary

Part One provides the background information needed to critically evaluate sources and includes examples that show how to evaluate both print and Web-based information. Part Two introduces a practical approach to evaluating Web resources based on the concept of page-specific checklists. Part Three requires users to practice evaluating Web pages using the page-specific checklists.

We developed this lesson plan for use with undergraduate students, but the strategy can be readily adapted to other user groups of varying ages and with varying research interests. The lesson can be taught in a one-day session or expanded to cover a series of classes spanning several weeks. The ideal instructional setting allows participants to have hands-on access to the Web, although the instructor may illustrate Web page examples to the group in situations where hands-on experience is not available. We recommend using Web page examples related to the interests of those being taught, but any examples that effectively illustrate the points are sufficient.

Additional information can be found on a set of Web pages entitled Evaluation of Web Resources. These pages are referred to throughout this article and can be accessed by following the Wolfgram Memorial Library link found on the Widener University Web page (http://www.widener.edu).

Background Required

Part One of the lesson plan provides participants with the foundation they will need to successfully evaluate Webbased resources. Although the main focus of the lesson is on evaluating Web resources, the lesson begins with a review of traditional print evaluation techniques. This approach serves two purposes. First, because users are familiar with print sources and presumably already know some of the techniques traditionally used to evaluate them, the lesson begins with what they already know and builds upon that experience. Second, although Web technology is new and, in many instances, more complex than its print predecessor, many of the criteria used to evaluate print resources can still be successfully adapted to the evaluation of Web resources.

We created a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation to convey the concepts covered in Part One of the lesson. It is available for viewing at the Web site mentioned above.

Part One of the lesson begins with a review of five criteria traditionally used to evaluate print resources:

1. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Teaching Critical Evaluation Skills for World Wide Web Resources
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.