There is so much information available on the Internet. How do I know which information to trust?

Entrepreneurs & Their Communities March 30, 2007|Print
The Internet is a great resource. But not all the information available is accurate or even true. Here are a couple of tips that you can use to rate the information you find: * Is the information from a trustworthy source? In general, information that comes from a college or university has been reviewed by several people. Educational sites should also be clear which information has been fully researched and which information is still a work in progress. Often, you can tell from the type of site where it originates. An ".edu" at the end of a URL (uniform resource locator, or an Internet "address") indicates an educational institution, a ".gov" at the end indicates a government site, and an ".org" indicates a nonprofit site. Another fairly reliable source of information are sites hosted by agencies of the government. Again, generally the information that is provided there has been reviewed by several people for accuracy. * Is the site hosted by an individual or an organization? In general, organizational sites have more people involved so it is likely that errors or misstatements will be noticed and corrected. * How often is the site updated? If a site hasn't been updated in a very long time, you should try to find another site that is more recent. * Can you verify a piece of information on more than one site? If you can find three independent (reliable) sources of information that say the same thing, it increases the reliability of that information. * Does the information come from professionals in the field? For example, if you were looking for medical advice, it would certainly make sense to start looking for information that was written by a healthcare provider with some experience in that area. Likewise, if you were looking for information on a home improvement project, you might want to look for sites that have information from general contractors, carpenters, etc. * Is the site trying to sell you something? While many of these sites may provide good information, you should be cautious whenever the information is tied to selling you something. Common sense goes a long way toward helping you determine if a piece of information is accurate or not. Trust your instincts. If a site just doesn't seem right, then move on to another source.

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