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Controversial Issues: Websites

This guide was created to assist students who are writing an argumentative essay, preparing for a debate, or writing a speech.

Google Search

Add the phrases site:.gov or site:.edu to Google searches limit the results to trustworthy sites.

Google Web Search

Controversial Issues Websites

Here are some web links that will help you with your Controversial Issues paper.

Using Government Websites

When writing about controversial topics, it is helpful to include factual data.  The easiest way to find this information on the internet, is to limit a Google search to just government websites.

To do this you would add the phrase "site:.gov" to your keywords in Google.

Example to type into the Google search box:

Abortion statistics site:.gov

Evaluating Websites

        

How to Evaluate Website Information

To evaluate a website, Ask the questions: Who? What? Where? When? Why?

WHO? Who is creating or publishing the website? Look for clues.

WHAT? WHAT is the purpose of this website? What is it about? (Look for "About US")

WHAT type of website is this?  Check the domain to see what type of website it is.

The most trustworthy domains are:

·         A page authored by an institution (.edu)?

·         A page authored sponsored by a government agency (.gov)?

WHERE? WHERE did the information come from? Does the website include references or state the information origin or source? Is the source given a reliable or trustworthy source of information?

WHEN? WHEN was this page or resource created or updated? Is the information outdated or links not working?

WHY? WHY was this webpage or resource created?

·         Does the page include a mission or a purpose statement                             

Web Evaluation Checklist

Use this checklist to determine if a website is a credible resource.

AUTHORITY
Does the person, institution or agency responsible for a site have the qualifications and knowledge to do so?
Is the author of the page identified?  Yes  No
Is contact information for the author provided?  Yes  No
Does the author state his/her qualifications or credentials?  Yes  No
Check the domain. Can you ascertain where the document is published?  Yes  No
PURPOSE
The author should be clear about the purpose of the information presented in the site. Some sites are meant to inform, persuade, state an opinion, entertain, or parody something or someone.
What is the purpose of the site and does the content support it?  Yes  No
Does the domain name of the site indicate its purpose?  Yes  No
Is the site well organized?  Yes  No
Are the links appropriate and up to date?  Yes  No
Is the site geared toward a specific audience ( students, scholars, general reader)?  Yes  No
CURRENCY
It is important to know when a site was created, when it was last updated, and if all of the links are current.
Is the date the information was placed on the web given?  Yes  No
Is the date the information was last revised given?  Yes  No
Are the links up-to-date?  Yes  No
If the information is dated is it still relevant?  Yes  No
ACCURACY
It is the responsibility of the reader to beware of the information presented. Be sure to differentiate fact from opinion.
Is the institution affiliated with a known organization or institution?  Yes  No
If statistics and other factual information are presented, are references given?  Yes  No
From the reading you have already done on the subject does the information on the site seem accurate?  Yes  No
OBJECTIVITY
Objective sites will present information with a minimum of bias, without the intention to persuade.
Is the information presented without a particular bias? YesNo
Does the site avoid advertising that may be a conflict of interest with the content? YesNo
Does the site avoid trying to persuade or sell something? YesNo