The Research Paper English 102

Webpage Assessment Exercise
Effective Email: "hey mary i miised class cuz i overlslpt!"
Final Presentations
Special Topic: Violence (Readings)
Documentation Exercise
Is that TRUE?
I need a BREAK!

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"Professor Mary T. Conway--  former point guard for the NBA’s Miami Heat – Teaching NOW at CCP!" [i]


When I have a question, my 1st move is to “Google” it. That is, I type some key terms into the very reliable search engine, and wait for the TRUTH to reveal itself. 


Well, it’s not really that easy, is it? Since we are increasingly dependent upon web sources for our information, and since this dependence saves us time, gas, and shoe leather (not to mention the fact that you can research at 3am in your living room) – we have to become EXPERTS!  The only other option is to be duped repeatedly. It’s not just a slogan: Knowledge IS power.


Consider: in minutes, I could put up a web page “documenting” my long and illustrious career in the NBA. The unsuspecting web browser (you!)  would see this and remark, “Fascinating! I didn’t know my English professor used to lead the league in assists!” I didn’t, but the webpage would say otherwise.


This assignment is designed to provide you with the tools you need to “suss” out such shenanigans.


First, though, I want to show you how crucial this is. Obviously, I wasn’t in the NBA. But other lies are more difficult to detect, are often couched in official language, and hide hateful intent.


Go to these 2 sites: 


Would you use this as a reliable source for information about Dr. King?



Would you use this as a reliable source for US executive branch news?


NOW that you’re outraged, let’s hone your skills with this excellent University of California at Berkeley webpage on assessing internet sources.


STEP ONE: Read this guide


STEP TWO: Then apply this checklist (below) to evaluate two promising webpages relating to YOUR TOPIC. Complete the checklist for both, then submit to me by Sunday at midnight.


You may copy and paste this list of Qs into your word processor to make it neater. 

 ***If you can't answer these questions thoroughly and confidently, you don't know if the claims are true.***


  1. What type of site is it – that is, what is the ending of the URL? What does that mean for the reliability of the site?


  1. Who is the author? What are the author’s credentials? Is the author an institution? Is it an institution with a suspect agenda?


  1. Who published the page?


  1. Does the site have ads? Is the primary purpose of the site to sell you something? If so, does this effect the site’s veracity?


  1. When was the site last updated? Is this an automatic update by a webmaster, or has the content actually changed?


  1. Is there proof of the claims on the page? Does the site reference other sources? Are there live links to other sources?


  1. Given your answers to the above questions, is the information reliable?


  1. What are 2 essential pieces of information you gleaned from the site, which you did not know previously?


  1. * (Optional) How does the fake MLKing site effect how you read this webpage?


  1. *(Optional) Use  from the Berkeley site (above) to assess how much traffic the site receives. How does this knowledge influence your evaluation of the site?


[i] This is not true (although I have broken some ankles with my cross-over). However, the unscrupulous often will paste a URL as evidence of a claim that has not been supported (for a serious example of this, see the racist MLKing page above). This public web document may one day be used as “evidence” of a false claim.

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