4. Evaluating Web Sites: What used to help
It used to be easier to draw conclusions about an information source's credibility, depending on whether it was a print source or a web source. We knew we had to be more careful about information on the web - simply because all the filters that promoted accuracy involved in the print publishing process were absent from most web publishing. After all, it takes very little money, skill, and responsible intent to put content on the web, compared with what has to be done to convince print publishers your content is accurate and that they will make money by printing it.
However, many publishers who once provided only print materials have now turned to the web and have brought along their rigorous standards for accuracy. Among them are the publishers of government, university, and scholarly (peer-reviewed) journal web sites. Sites for U.S. mainline news organizations also strive for accuracy rather than persuasion--because they know their readers have traditionally expected it. All in all, more web sites now take appropriate care for accuracy than what used to be true on the web.
Nonetheless, it still remains very easy and inexpensive to publish on the web without any of the filters associated with print. So we all still need the critical thinking skills you'll learn here to determine whether web sites' information is credible and relevant enough to suit your purpose.
Check Them Out
Think we're making a mountain out of a molehill about being careful about web sources? Please take a moment to look at the web sites at the links below. Is there an inference(s) you can make that applies to all three?