Why it is important that we evaluate credibility of websites?

The idea of credibility is important in today’s society where we heavily depend on technology. The amount of people who use books for studying is slowly decreasing, as technology gets more and more advanced. In a society where we can now use internet to look up anything with a push of the button it is important that with each site visit we look into how credible the source actually is. We need to make sure the source from which we are reading the information from is credible, as what we read will influence our perspective of the topic, which will determine how we feel about the topic. From what we read on the internet it can influence the way we see the world and even change our values and aspects of life therefore we need to make sure that what we read is correct. As describe in his article “Credibility and the World Wide Web” Fogg (2003) credibility is made up of two factors make up credibility trustworthiness and expertise. Many factors can influence how trustworthy a site is and it is important to check to see if the site you are using has these factors.Some factors include is the site frequently updated, who has written the webpage, what type of domain is the site, has the author used references or had experience and whether the information matches another site. It is especially important to check how credible the site is if you are a student. When writing essays it is important to get the facts right otherwise the argument proposed would contain incorrect facts making your argument invalid.

Why is Wikipedia not a credible source of information?

Wikipedia is one site that is widely used however is not credible. Although Wikipedia is good to use as a stepping-stone for assignments or just common knowledge it is not entirely reliable as anyone who has access to a computer or some form of technology can easily alter the information. Research claims that 60% of Wikipedia entries are incorrect or contain errors (Morrow, 2012).  If using Wikipedia as the beginning point it is always best to research further into the topic and find peer reviewed site or books which justify the claim the was read on Wikipedia. Although Wikipedia does delete any invalid information due to the large amount of pages on Wikipedia, it can take up to days to get to a precise page and clear it, which would be difficult and could be too late if people start to use it in articles or essays. With the website being easily accessible and open to public, it is not always the public who is to blame for errors. Some governments and higher authority figures have used the website to edit out the truth of events that have happened and replaced them with a façade to conceal the truth from the public (Watson, 2007). Another reoccurring problem is that articles are often written and leave out important key details, which can lead to people taking things too seriously especially when it comes to medical advice.  As an example if people write about a certain type of drug, information about the side effects can be left out to make the drug seem more appealing but can have a disastrous effect (Clauson cited in Harding, 2008).

Anticipated issues that may affect the users’ perceived web credibility in future:

  • Various technology: With technology advancing so quickly in today’s society websites can now be viewed from almost any electronic device that can connect to the internet. This makes judging websites difficult as they vary from each different device.
  • Advertisements: Although it may look appealing, sites with too many advertisements or flashy signs can make the page less credible.
  • Authors: As the internet is forever growing it is more difficult to determine whether or not a person really does have a degree or if they are just lying.
  • Payment: Sites that ask for money or are trying to sell you something are not always credible. Most of the time it is safe to assume that they are looking out for themselves rather than trying to make education free.
  • People: As more people become connected to the internet the amount of sites are forever growing. This can lead to non credible sites who have incorrect information or biased opinions. Due to this people become more wary of sites so even if the site is credible it may be overlooked because its the same as another site that has similar information.
  • Reputation: A cite can gain a lot of reputation even if they are not credible. This is due to friends, family, or even co-workers recommending sites that may give non credible information.


Examples of Credibility:

Presumed Credibility:

Presumed credibility occurs when a site has a good reputation. The WWF wesite falls under the category of presumed credibility as it has org. in the url link, it is aimed at help precious species and is a non profit organization.

Reputed Credibility: Jenny Craig falls under the category of reputed credibility. Jenny Craig has many endorsements and has many celebrities telling you how well it works and showing their fit bodies.

Surface Credibility: A good example of surface credibility is the apple website. It has a professional feel and has an easy to understand layout which allows users to easily navigate through the site.

Earned Credibility: Westpac is a good example of earned credibility. It is a well known bank and has earned the trust of many customers over the years. It has a reputation of being a safe and well known bank which has had no security issues.


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