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Evaluating the Credibility of Websites: Student Responses

In this activity, you will be tasked with visiting a known hoax website as well as two legitimate
websites and gauging their credibility based on various criteria.
This information must be completed by EACH student and uploaded onto each students
weebly.com website.
Task #1: Evaluating a Hoax
The following websites are known hoax websites created for the intended purpose of testing
how well individuals can assess the validity of internet sources.
http://zapatopi.net/treeoctopus/
http://www.dhmo.org/
Choose one of the two websites and complete the following table:
Read the following statements and determine the credibility of the website
Author

Yes

Is there an author given?

Yes

No

Is the author credible? (If no author, leave blank)

No

Is there an editor?

No

Publisher
Is it obvious who published the site?
Could they have an agenda in published the information?

No
Yes

Purpose of the Site


Is the purpose of the site applicable to research?

Yes

Is the information biased?

Yes

Is the website trying to sell you something based on your view?

Yes

Intended Audience
Are you the intended audience of this website?

No

Quality of Information
Is the information that is published timely?

Yes

Is the website free of dead links, spelling/grammatical errors, or other


problems that indicate lack of quality control?

Yes

Does the website offer sources for their information?


If so, are these sources reputable and free of bias?

No

Task #2: Anatomy of a URL


Rank the following URLs in order of authority on a particular topic, with a 1 having the most
authority and a 4 having the least.
_4__ http://random.blogspot.com
_3__ http://www.random.com
_2__ http://yale.edu/~srandom
_1__ http://www.random.gov
Explain why you chose the ordering you did in complete sentences.
I chose the last URL as having the most authority, because its a .gov which is written by the
government, so its credible information. I ranked the .edu as the second most credible
website, because its written by universities. But, it could include some student websites which
are not credible. I ranked the .com website as the third one, because it could sometimes have
credible information and sometimes not. The blogspot.com website is ranked last, since these
sites are blogs and lack credible information.

Task #3: Evaluating Other Websites for Credibility


Choose two of the websites below:
GMOs
http://www.saynotogmos.org/
https://factsaboutgmos.org/
http://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/genetically-modified-organisms-gmos-transge
nic-crops-and-732
http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2015/07/are_gmos_safe_yes_t
he_case_against_them_is_full_of_fraud_lies_and_errors.html
Health/Medicine
http://www.cdc.gov/measles/vaccination.html
https://authoritynutrition.com/6-shocking-reasons-why-gluten-is-bad/
http://www.uwhealth.org/nutrition-diet/the-reality-behind-gluten-free-diets/31084
http://vaccine-injury.info/tenpenny.cfm#_
http://healthimpactnews.com/2014/unapproved-but-effective-cancer-cures/
https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/dna-vaccines-protect-monkeys-against-zi
ka-virus

Using a manner similar to what you did with step one, evaluate the credibility of the two
websites. Answer the questions below:
1. What is the first website you chose? Regarding the website and its usefulness in
researching a particular topic, do you believe the website is credible? You must discuss
your answer in complete sentences and give sufficient justification for your argument to
receive credit.
The first website I chose was
http://www.uwhealth.org/nutrition-diet/the-reality-behind-gluten-free-diets/31084. I
believe this website is credible, because the website included sources for their
information. These sources are also reputable and free of bias. The author of this
website used no grammatical or spelling errors and used high level vocabulary to relate
to the topic. Information from scientists and the research they conducted were included
to support the particular topic. The information was very well organized and timely.
These factors led me to believe that this website is credible.

2. What is the second website you chose? Regarding the website and its usefulness in
researching a particular topic, do you believe the website is credible? You must discuss
your answer in complete sentences and give sufficient justification for your argument to
receive credit.
The second website I chose was
http://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/genetically-modified-organisms-gmos-transgen
ic-crops-and-732. I believe this website is credible, because it has the authors name and
the articles sources listed. The website is also very useful for scientific information, since
it includes statistics and tables. In addition, there is information from a wide range of
sources. The author of the website had no grammatical or spelling errors anywhere in
the article. The article was well organized and included high level vocabulary along with
scientific research. These factors led me to believe that this website is credible just like
the previous one.