Online research: quality vs. junk

With the internet in full swing, the world is at your fingertips. You can pretty much find anything on the internet, and it’s not that difficult to find. This makes sifting through the junk sources ever more important.

The clue to quality that I always look for is transparency. How difficult is it to find the author? In order to use a site as a source you must be able to easily find out where the information came from.

And it always helps to stick with the sources you know. One can trust that the information provided in well-known, well-documented texts is about as good as it gets. Such sites have built a reputation and they are openly accountable for their work.

In the Peak Oil section of the Ithaca College Library web site evaluation assignment, there are 5 sites to evaluate. may promote education in their articles, but it is important to note that the site has a political agenda: save the environment. If we are looking for information on peak oil, we have to consider whether the information is biased or not.

The Oil Drum also seems to have a political agenda, but at least all the facts are right out in the open. The information is mostly data and graphs. However, I am still more likely to source the source of their information before I source their work.

Don’t Tread on Me is clearly far too biased to source. It may be good and motivating literature, but it is too subjective to cite for purposes of research. The headline of the page is: “Freak out America! Peak oil is here.”

The article on HuffPost cites all of its information and comes from a well-known source; it seems to be acceptable.

The information on the Information Clearing House is very questionable. It looks like it was copied and pasted from a propaganda brochure.




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