As Gurak (2000) points out, one or more of the following characteristics indicate a credible site:
Exercise 1.1. Search strategy and Boolean logic
This is an exercise in thinking logically, not in finding answers on the
Web. Here are ten publication titles. Use them to answer the questions below.
A. Trap-Nesting Wasps And Bees: Life Histories, Nests, And Associates
B. Behavior Of Three Florida Solitary Wasps
C. Winged Warriors: Insects In The Garden
D. A Cluster Of Bees
E. The Wasps Of The Genus Pisonopsis Fox
F. Beeswax, Twine, and Time: The Art of Candlemaking
G. Cowfly Tigers: An Account Of The Bembicine Wasps Of British Guyana
H. Honeybees Attacked At Their Hive Entrance By Philanthus Wasps
I. A Life History of Stinging Insects
J. A Comparative Study Of The Nesting Habits Of Solitary Bees And Wasps
Write the number(s) corresponding to the title(s) that would be retrieved for each of the following Boolean statements.
1. Wasps AND Bees 2. Wasps NOT Bees
5. When using terms in a subject directory, you will usually get only relevant titles. When using terms in a search engine, you should expect a mixture of relevant and irrelevant titles. If you were searching for Wasps OR Bees using a search engine, which of the above titles would probably be retrieved but have little to do with them?
6. When you search one of the better subject directories, you search not only titles but annotations written by a staff person. Which of the above titles would be missed by a search engine using the keywords Wasps OR Bees, but might contain relevant information that would be retrieved by a good subject directory?
• It is an online version of a reputable published source, such as a newspaper, major media source, or an academic or professional journal
• It includes a list of works cited
• It is affiliated with a reputable educational or research institution
• The authors of the site are identified, with information about how to contact them
If most or all of these characteristics are present, you can be fairly confident that the site is likely to be credible.
The Internet and especially the World Wide Web are undeniably valuable tools. However, there is a common misconception that with their arrival, literature searching has become a breeze. Reality is closer to a description by Gould (1998, p. 8):
If you keep in mind that the Internet just came out of the trees and got into the knuckle-walking stage of its evolution, you will be able to appreciate what is there, and reduce your frustration at working in this very young medium.
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