Reliable resource research
The internet is full of information, and you should be able to find veridic information from there. This is sadly not always the case as everything uploaded to the internet can’t be checked. Common sense is very useful in many situations, but what if you don’t know anything about the subject. Content from all over the world is being uploaded to the internet for everybody to read and get informed about. It is great to have this possibility, but it can also be overwhelming. Critical literacy is what I would say is one of the most important skills to have when reading about something on the internet. This means that you don’t believe everything at first but analyse its credibility before making any conclusions. It is very common to see misleading and unreliable information being spread out there for everyone to see. It is hard to prevent this from happening but we as individuals prevent ourselves from believing everything we see.
Diversity is great but it can also cause problems
Eating on a buffet is very comfortable, but after a week of doing so, it can get overwhelming. In my opinion, the same happens with finding information on the internet. There is a huge supply of information to choose from, but most of the searches don’t contribute to anything. Having a pop-up application that offers you reliable information while searching on the internet would come in handy. There is a huge sector of people that are not so familiar with finding reliable information on the internet. People including myself search for everything on the internet. It can be from self-diagnosing yourself when being sick to finding the closest supermarket on your holiday trip. There is a need for this type of application. The only problem with creating an application like this would be the immensely large amount of research that should be made in order to finish a search-engine like this.
Easy steps to identify if a source is reliable or not
There are a few easy things you can do yourself to verify if a source is biased. When searching about this topic I found a site (4 ways to differentiate a good source from a bad source, UTEP connect, 2017) that talks about differentiating biased, outdated, or inaccurate sources from each other.
The first suggestion is to check the domain name. This means that you check the last three letters at the end of the site’s domain name. These domain names are “edu” (educational), “gov” (government), “org” (non-profit), and “com” (commercial). Generally, .edu and .gov are the most reliable ones. Non-profit “org” websites are also very reliable in most cases. This depends a lot on the organization and what they are aiming for. Commercial websites can also contain valid information if these are reputable news organizations. This is a general guideline, but if you want to be totally sure about your sources you should do some more research. Some websites can use these suffixes to mislead you.
The second thing to do is to check the source. Checking if the text or study has an author can also verify the credibility. If the author is listed, but there are no authoritative sources can mean that they are telling their opinion without supporting it with facts. In addition, it is good to check the date of publication. In some cases, information being old doesn’t matter if the information hasn’t been updated recently. In fields of study where the information can change rapidly, it is important to pay attention to the date of publication.
The third thing to do is to find additional information to back up what you already have. When you find a reliable site, it is clever to search for other reliable sources to see if they have the same outcome. If not, you may have to do some more research.
The fourth and final thing to do is to use certain sources as a starting point for other more reliable sources. This means that you don’t rely on only one site. Wikipedia for example is a great site to find information, but it can serve you only as a starting point. Wikipedia’s reliability varies widely because the information there is being written by a collaborative effort. Sometimes you can find reliable information and other times not. For these reasons, you can only use Wikipedia as a starting point for more reliable sources.
These above-mentioned points were easy ways to check if your sources are potentially reliable, but the most important tool in my opinion is your common sense. If you feel something is off, it may very well be that the source is not reliable. Things in life take time and so does reliable resource research.
(4 ways to differentiate a good source from a bad source UTEP connect, 2017)
(University of the people, The ultimate student guide to find credible sources, 2021)