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Psychology: Internet

Guide to Resources in Psychology

Criteria for evaluating web sites

This list is a guide for evaluating information found on the Internet.   It can also be applied to print sources and media. 

 ACCURACY -- How reliable is the information?  Remember, almost anyone can publish on the web.  As opposed to scholarly print media, many web sites are not verified.  There are no web standards to ensure accuracy.

 AUTHORITY -- What are the author’s qualifications for writing on this subject?  How reputable is the publisher?  It is often difficult to determine the authorship and qualifications.  The publisher information is often absent.

 OBJECTIVITY -- Is there bias?  Are the goals or aims of the individual or group clearly stated?  Remember that many people consider the web as a place to state their opinions.

 CURRENCY -- Is the content up-to-date?  Often dates are omitted or may mean the date that the information was originally written, the date it was placed on the web, or the date it was last revised.

 COVERAGE -- What topics are covered and to what depth?  Coverage may differ from print resources.

 AFFILIATION -- Is there a corporate entity (i.e. company, government, organization, university) that supports this site?  Is there a link to the homepage of the organization?  Is there contact information such as an email link and a snail mail address?  How might this affiliation affect objectivity?

 AUDIENCE -- For what audience is the material intended?  Is it for students in elementary school?  Middle school?  High school?  Is it for adults?  How difficult is the material?

 STABILITY OF INFORMATION -- It’s here today but will it be here tomorrow?  Can you cite it with some assurance that it will be found again?

Reliable Psychology websites

  • American Psychological Association - is the largest scientific & professional organization representing psychology in the U.S.  APA is the world's largest association of psychologists with researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students as its members.  Their mission is to advance the creation, communication and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve people's lives.
  • Mental Health Resources for Students & Counselors - a resource for those interested in becoming addiction counselors, this website also provides a list of mental heath issues, symptoms, signs, support, and treatment.
  • Personality Theories - is an electronic textbook created for students in a Personality Theory class.  It is copyrighted but you can print or download without permission from the author as long as the material is used only for personal or educational purposes and you cite the source!
  • The Personality Project - How and why people differ is the focus on this site which addresses the questions of shared human nature, dimensions of individual differences and unique patterns of individuals.
  • Social Psychology Network - is one of the largest Internet sites devoted to psychological research and teaching. There are more than 18,000 links related to psychology.
  • Psychology Information Online - provides information about psychological diagnosis, disorders, and problems, psychotherapy and counseling, behavior therapy, psychological evaluations and testing, and other treatment services.  It also provides information about forensic psychology and psychological consultation for legal matters.
  • Internet Mental Health - is an online encyclopedia of mental health and includes a guide to many different mental disorders, a section on self=diagnosis, discussion boards, information about medications, a glossary and other resources.

CRAP TEST for Evaluating Sources

  • You can use this list as a guide for evaluating your sources, whether they are websites or from SVC resources.
  • You don't need to be able to answer all the questions but use the list as a general evaluating tool.
CURRENCY
  • How recent is the information, does it matter to your topic?
  • Has the resource been consistently updated/revised?
  • Are links current and working?
RELEVANCE
  • Is the information really relevant to your topic?
  • Does the creator provide references or sources for data or ideas?
  • Are there errors?
AUTHORITY
  • Who is the creator, author or sponsor?
  • What credentials does the author or organization have?
  • Does their experience or education indicate that they could be considered "experts"?
  • Is information about the creator easily found?
  • Is information provided about funding sources or data gathering for the work?
PURPOSE / POINT OF VIEW
  • What is the the purpose of the site? Is it obvious what it's for?
  • Are they trying to sell you something or promote an idea?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Is there a strong bias, an aggressive use of language, or a balanced tone?
  • Are there lots of pop-ups and irrelevant ads?

 

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