Skip to main content

Researching Technical Issues (IT) - Bruce: Step 3: Evaluating Search Results

Checking the Conversation

Notice that for both examples below, you may not know much about the sites' authority / credibility by looking at the site content itself. If you are not familiar with a source, you can try searching the publisher / source and see if other (reasonably) credible sources are linking to / referring to the site.

Pay attention to context here, too. Reputable sites may mention unreliable sources when reporting on things like hoaxes or viruses!

  • Example 1 --  Vitux.com is referred to in a couple of blogs on "Linux.com," a major resource site for the Linux platform. A good sign!
  • Example 2 -- WinHelpOnline has been linked out to by several reputable tech reporting sites, including CNET, over the years. Another good sign!

Example: TrueType fonts - Ubuntu

Example: Investigate the source: Vitux

Checking for Quality - CRAAP Test

Maybe it was easy to find, but is it good? 

Assess: Does this information belong in my academic project or is it .... CRAP? 

Currency
  •  How recent is the information?
  •  If a website, how recently has it been updated?
  •  Is it current enough for your topic? (Is this a  field with rapidly changing information?)
Reliability
  • Is content of the resource primarily opinion? Is  it balanced?
  •  Does the creator provide citations or sources?
  •  Can you verify the info elsewhere?
Authority / Accuracy
  • Can you find the credentials of the author or  creator of the information? (if a website - check the "about" page)
  •  If a website, is a known, objective organization responsible for the information (example: .gov, .org, .edu domains)?
  •  Are there obvious errors or typos?
Purpose / Point of View

Is the information fact or opinion?

  •  Who is the intended audience?
  •  Are there advertisements?
  •  Is the creator/author trying to:
    • Sell you  something?
    • Inform you?
    • Entertain?
    • Persuade?  
  •  What is the publisher’s interest (if any) in this  information? Can you determine if the publisher  has a political, religious, or other ideology to  promote?

Example: WinHelpOnline - "Installing .NET Framework 3.5 or any optional feature"

WinHelpOnline - [Fix] Error 0x800F0954 Installing .NET Frameworks 3.5 or Any Optional Feature

Example - Investigating the source: WinHelpOnline

Google News Search: "winhelponline"