The Case of the Questionable Content

The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology

Using this resource as an example, look at how the quality of the Content might be evaluated (in reality this would be only one part of the evaluation criteria that you would need to consider).

The illustration below gives some first thoughts about the clues offered on the front page of the journal:

image of a home page

The Investigative Process

1) Investigating the "Description of the Journal"

In fact this link takes you to relatively little information, and focuses on the scope of the subject coverage:

"The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology publishes original papers in all areas of personality and social psychology. It emphasizes empirical reports but may include specialized theoretical, methodological, and review papers. "

OK, not much clue about the actual quality of the content, except for the fact that the language used implies that this is an academic resource.

2) Checking out the URL and the Navigation Buttons

By deleting the right hand side of the URL down to:

http://www.apa.org/

the homepage of The American Psychological Association (APA) is reached - a reputable and authoritative source - good sign!

The "Home" button also returns to the APA Home page.

3) Investigating the Editorial Board

This link proves very useful - it points to a list of all the editors and gives the institutions they work in - universities around the world.

This is a positive sign - all the information is filtered by academics - presumably authoritative and learned individuals.

4) Looking at the Tables of Contents

OK - here is where you find out about completeness and substantiveness - how much information does the journal offer online?

Sadly, full text of the journal articles are not available online. The Contents Pages of past editions are all available, but abstracts only for the current edition.

5) Looking at the "Pricing and Subscription Information"

This link leads to a price list and an order form for obtaining a printed journal (ie paper not electronic format).

The Case is Solved!

Strengths

Weaknesses

Conclusion

This is the Internet site of a reputable print journal that does not offer a great deal of content online. A sceptic might say that the motive for the site is to sell more copies of the print journal. However, many users may appreciate the "current awareness" service offered by online Tables of Contents.

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