1.5.1 Evaluating Information on the Web

You’re studying Learning to Learn online, using the Internet, so we are going to assume that you have Internet access. You may have little or no experience with using the Internet or you may be very familiar with the vast amount of information that is available on the World Wide Web (or “Web,” for short). (Note that while the terms “Internet” and “World Wide Web” are often used to mean the same thing, they are actually different.  The Internet [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] is the global system of interconnected computers; the World Wide Web is made up of the millions of documents that are linked together.  Clicking on “Internet” or “World Wide Web” in the previous sentences will take you to Wikipedia, where you can find out more about the difference between the two.)

You may have used the Internet to search for information about your leisure interests, health issues, to contact friends using social media sites like Facebook, or to look for study opportunities. However much experience of the Internet you have, it is important to have a way of evaluating the information you find on the Web so that you can judge how accurate the information is likely to be. This is especially important if you are using the Web for academic study or to get medical information, because information found on the Web is not subject to regulation or quality control. This means that information might be out-of-date, misleading or even dangerous. 

Fortunately, many people have spent time considering how to evaluate Web-based information, or websites. In Learning to Learn we will use the “PROMPT” checklist for evaluating information. This checklist has been developed by The Open University in the UK.

1.5 Study Skills, Other Skills

1.5.2 Using the PROMPT checklist