Validity depends on how well founded, trustworthy and reliable the content of the resource is.

Quality warning!

Worst case scenarios:

Imagine citing an online physics paper by A. Einstein in your essay that was in fact written by ten year old Amy Einstein of Weston-super-Mare. Worse still, imagine believing in a site that claimed to be written by a political party but was in fact propaganda written by political activists from the other side.

Detecting Validity

Questions to ask:
  • does the resource appear to be honest and genuine?
  • has the information already been filtered by a third party?
  • is the resource available in another format? (eg a book or CD-ROM)
  • is the information well researched?
  • is any bias made clear and of an acceptable level?
Clues to look for:
  • references and bibliographies
  • a statement of the source of the information
  • a statement of the aims and objectives of the site
  • mention of any quality checks the information has passed through
  • a URL which supports claims in the content
image of an information stand

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