2.1. How to sift through information and assess the results obtained
2.1.6. Objectivity and precision of information
The language used, the website goals and its intended audience allow us to determine how subjective the content may be. Knowing about the authors’ purposes helps us determine whether the website content is objective or subjective.
Assessing the objectivity or the validity of the information obtained may become more difficult when we are not experts on a given subject, or in subjects we know nothing about (which are the main reasons why we would like to perform a search on them), but the following points may help us address this issue:
- Do the ideas make sense and are well connected, or do they contradict each other?
- The authors provide the information sources they read and used, and these may be contrasted and checked. Explicitly citing information sources is a clear guarantee of credibility, as it puts content in context and allow us to search for the original information source in order to contrast data and obtain more information on the subject. It is advisable to perform a critical review and a systematic check-up of all the contents we find if they do not provide their original source of information.
- Comments or assessments by other users are available on the information shown, in which the contents are endorsed or else, discredited.
Information precision is related to the nature of the content: statistic, bibliographic, biographic, law-related or journalistic contents, for instance. It is also related to the degree of specialization of the analysed website.