Accuracy

Closely related to validity, the accuracy of a resource will depend on how correct all the information actually is.

Quality warning!

The lack of information filters on the Internet, such as proof readers, editors and publishers means that mistakes are more prevalent than in print. There is scope both for innocent error and for outright deception.

Worst case scenario:

Imagine quoting facts or statistics from an Internet site that are completely inaccurate. Inaccuracy might be caused by human error in data entry, but it could also be a deliberate strategy of somebody with an ulterior motive who has set out to deceive. Watch out for bias and propaganda.

Detecting Accuracy

Questions to ask:
  • has the information been checked by a third party (eg publisher, editor or peer reviewer)?
  • where doubt about accuracy exists can the information content be cross-checked with a reliable source?
  • is the provider of the information likely to be well motivated to provide accurate information?
Clues to look for:
  • typographical errors
  • spelling mistakes and bad grammar
  • bibliographies and references
  • the credentials of the information provider
image of inaccuracy

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