Skip to main content

Examination and Cross-Examination: Getting the Facts: Evaluating Internet Resources

Trial transcrips and practice materials on the examination of witnesses

Fact Checking

Wikipedia

Wikipedia describes itself as "the free encyclopedia anyone can edit."  Read Wikipedia's ever-growing list of disclaimers--"Wikipedia Makes No Guarantee of Validity."  It's not a good idea to rely on the information you find here--you can use it to start your research, but never quote from it in a research paper.

Evaluating Websites

Factors to look for in evaluating websites include

  • Authority
    • Who is the author? Do they have a hidden agenda?
  • Objectivity
    • Does the website purport to be objective? Advocacy group websites can be a valuable source of information, but you should question the information if they hide who they really are.
  • Timeliness
    • What is the date of publication? When was it last updated?
  • ​Documentation
    • Do they cite reliable sources?
  • Privacy
    • If you have to sign up for a free account, what do they do with your information?

Invisible Web Resources

  • Google and Yahoo are estimated to cover only 3% to 34% of documents available on the Internet
  • Much Internet exists as the "Invisible Web", hidden from search engines for a number of reasons:
    • Site requires registration
    • Site is fee-based or licensed
    • Site is behind a firewall or on an intranet
    • Site is dynamically generated

Internet Archive and Other Web Archives