2. During the search: What did I find? How do I sift through information?

2.1. How to sift through information and assess the results obtained

2.1.5. Goals and intended audience for the contents

A site that is explicitly commercial may be as reliable as a University-related site in terms of contents, as long as it openly states its goals, its character and its intention, so that the user always knows what kind of information he/she is having access to, what the source goals are and, therefore, what the framework for its credibility is:

  • Academic-oriented.
  • Institutional.
  • Information-related or related to information dissemination.
  • Journalistic.
  • Instructive.
  • Persuasive or commercially-oriented.
  • Leisure-oriented.

Assessing the purpose of the website allows us to determine whether the information provided may be useful for our search goals, and to define how specialized the contents are.

The URL address of a site, in some cases, may indicate the purpose of the website. For instance, “.edu” shows the website is an education-related website. In this way, we may also find what the target audience for the website is.

Still in terms of purpose, knowing about the intended audience for the website we choose helps us assess whether it may suit our needs. For instance, an informative content for a general audience will not probably be appropriate if we are performing an investigation and/or an academic-related search.