Never be afraid to sit awhile and think. -- Lorraine Hansberry

T is for Thinking: the ICYouSee Guide To Critical Thinking

Look at details.

Internal clues can tell you much about a Web page. Check for the obvious things, such as good grammar and correct spelling. Note how well the page is organized and how recently it has been updated.

Graphics may help a Web page look more interesting, but do they serve any purpose other than decoration? Just as you should be able to differentiate popular magazines with their colorful photographs and ads from scholarly journals with their more austere look and lengthy texts, you can begin to evaluate a website by its design. If many of the links are dead, that's a sign the page may not be current. Ads now seem to appear where they never did before, but nature and number of ads may be very informative about the content of a website.

Sadly, some of the most notorious creators of fake news sites, for whom English was not their native language, left many clues that gullible viewers were too outraged to notice.

Important clues can be found by looking at what kind of sources are being linked. Depending on the subject matter and the material being presented, there should be documentation in the form of citations or links beyond the site to reliable sources of information. Check out web sites as you would (or should) any other research material.

You can also check out the site by looking up the site and seeing what other websites have to say about it.

Questions to think about:

  • Is the site well designed and organized?
  • Do the links work and do they send you to reliable sources?
  • Are the graphics on the page clear and helpful or distracting and confusing?
  • What opinions do others have about the Web page?

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ICYouSee T is for Thinking
John R. Henderson
Last modified: February 17, 2018