There are millions of Internet users around the globe today. Most of the Internet activity which these users generate is centered on search engine queries related to educating themselves with practical, technical and even academic matters. You as an Internet user will likely search for a site someday about educational and academic matters. Before you start citing and quoting the material that is found in a particular site, however, here are some tips that you need to evaluate an education site.
- Authority. One of the first rules of citation is that you need an author who will receive the attribution for whatever concept or quote that you are pulling from his page. The purpose of the author, however, is not simply to ensure that the individual who wrote the article is recognized and finds some sort of acclaim. Instead, the byline is a way of ensuring that someone is responsible for the facts, opinions, and information that is written on the page. Without the author, you should not only distrust the site and the materials that are contained in there, but you also do not have an individual to trust in the first place. Check for authors whether you are using a private site, a public site, or a research site.
- Accuracy. Another important facet of the education site that you need to evaluate is their accuracy. When talking about academic and scientific matters, accuracy is very important. Getting a few words misquoted or paraphrased improperly could make the entire point of the argument twisted and illogical. In science, a mistake in writing a certain formula means that you will no longer be able to solve a particular problem. Because of this, the accuracy that the educational site provides is highly valued. One way of checking for the accuracy of the educational site is by conducting counter checking mechanisms. For instance, search for the primary sources which the articles in the sites have used. If you are fairly sure that the quality of the articles are similar and all of good quality, then you can trust the site. The best sites, however, are peer reviewed as well. This means that scholars and academics from related fields will review the articles and provide comments and suggestions on how to improve the articles. Because fellow academicians are reviewing the articles, you can be sure that the review is thorough.
- Relevance. Finally, check the content in terms of relevance and how updated the content is. You can simply browse the contents in the index page, and get a feel of the articles. For each article, try to assess the theoretical frameworks used – are the theories that were used to support the educational sites updated, or are they still rooted in the ideas of thinkers from the 18th century? While 18th century thinkers are useful in providing the full story of the development of particular field, the actual theories that should be put in practice should be updated and should incorporate the assessments and criticisms of the previous theorists to ensure that the materials are relevant. You can also use a trusted evaluation site or primary site for comparison.
With the authority, accuracy and relevance of an education site established, you can safely proceed in using these materials for your thesis or any other personal work. It may take a bit of effort to assess an educational site, but doing so will only enrich the quality of your own work that will be based from these sites.