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Evaluate Information Quality
by its Source

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Considering the source of information is important when deciding whether it is trustworthy knowledge, propaganda, a sales pitch or just erroneous thoughts. But don't just rely on who the source is - because they may have a hidden agenda in how they use the data or statistics or in the way they explain things.

For instance, information may be provided on mutual fund investing by a reputed brokerage firm. Statistics are cited, historic perspective is added and economic theories are advanced. And suppose that all of this information is true.

The webpage could, however, be written from a biased perspective when applying these facts. It might recommend purchasing mutual funds instead of individual stocks or bonds - not from an economic standpoint - but because they buy and sell mutual funds, but not stocks and bonds. Or because they have there own family of mutual funds that they are suggestively selling.

Do not fall prey to the Pierre Salinger Syndrome - the term for believing anything just because it's on the internet. Or as Will Rogers said - "All I know is what I read in the papers."

Look at the Quality of the Writing

Attention to detail or the lack thereof suggests how much weight to place on a website's information. If there are numerous, unintentional spelling or grammatical errors - maybe the details of the information is suspect.

Also consider the references cited in the webpage. The number of references is not a true measure of the page's worth - but it does make it easier to research the veracity of what is presented. Authoritative website references are preferable to citations from obscure sources. Check out the references if need-be to see if, in fact, those sources really do give the facts presented.

Try clicking on some of the links provided. Do they really go anywhere? Or are they dead links?

If the links on a webpage are dead links maybe the information is outdated. Or it could suggest that the website itself is not maintained very well. All of which adds up to a quality evaluation of the information.

Organic SERPs or Paid SERPs?

Websites which the search engine algorithm determined to be relevant appear in the natural or organic results . Webpages are included in the order of their deemed importance.

On the other hand, there are also Sponsored or Paid Links. These appear because the search engine was compensated in return for displaying the website. Searchers in general appear to place more reliance on and go more often to the organic results.

In the next section - how to search effectively.

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