4.1 I would look at 4 criteria in the following order:

1. Check out the URL

  • examine the extension – .ac & .edu [academic, educational – OK]; .gov, .country [gov’t, .ca, .uk, etc. – OK]; .org, .net [suspect]
  • go back  in steps to home page, check contact information (about us), address (P.O. Box?) : delete what comes after each forward slash, in backwards order

2. Chack out the dates, updates for recency and currency

3. Check out author(s) and source – scholarly journal, library e-journal, academic web directory, eprint – look for peer review

4. Other clues: – Research Evidence, Proper Referencing, Mistakes or Inaccuracies (spelling, grammar, etc.)


Example: http://mediasmarts.ca/sites/default/files/pdfs/lesson-plan/Lesson_Pornography_Debate_Controversy_Advertising.pdf

1. URL:

  • .ca – Canada [GOOD], but still not-for-profit
  • removing extensions after the forward slashes in succession retained same location [GOOD], except for default and sites
  • “about us” – credible organizations are involved, clearly outlined history [GOOD]

2. Dates: home page history and articles 2012 [GOOD]

3. Author(s): – Staff and contributors have excellent credentials and related experience [GOOD]; in house peer review [not so good]

4. Research Evidence:- referenced “The Criminal Code of Canada”, “the Canadian Advertising Foundation” [GOOD]; no observed mistakes

VERDICT –> Reliable Source



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