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Site Reviews

| Judging the Quality of a Website | Web Site Reviews |

Judging the Quality of a Website

A general checklist for judging a 'good' website

"Quality websites will focus on providing information not advocacy for a point of view."

  1. Check the URL: edu, govt or ac indicate education or government organizations. Org or com may indicate the authors are after a profit.
  2. Look for the goals and sponsors of a site and if they match your purpose.
  3. Do the sites have contact addresses so you can verify their legitimacy?
  4. Check authority, responsibility and copyright of a site
  5. Is any advertising separate from the content?
  6. Are things dated and is the site maintained? How much is 'under construction'?
  7. Are the sources of information, images and graphs referenced?
  8. Is the site free of errors? Is there evidence of quality control?
  9. Is the site a primary source of information?

A 'good' science website

A website we do recommend is Warnings of Bogus Science. This site gives seven signs of bogus science and has examples.

We have rewritten the seven signs here for you:

  1. The information is pitched at the media to expose it to the general public rather than the scrutiny of other scientists
  2. The authors (proponents) claim suppression of their work and ideas by others. They may also claim that mainstream science is part of a larger conspiracy to uphold the interests of those with the power and wealth.
  3. They claim that the evidence is difficult to see, detect or measure. If it is so difficult to find it probably isn't there.
  4. The claims are based on anecdotal evidence rather than scientific method (research that involves observation and testing).
  5. The claims have been around for centuries - the authors say this 'proves' there is some 'truth' to them.
  6. Claims that a lone scientist has made a break through are unlikely as these days scientific breakthroughs are usually the result of a synthesis of the work of many scientists.
  7. If the claims conflict with the known laws of nature they are almost certainly wrong.

Therefore you can say that a quality science website will:

  1. Show the basis of the information in published work peer reviewed by the science community
  2. Make no claims of suppression or conspiracy
  3. Make clear the evidence and research methods
  4. Indicate a development of ideas and concepts over time as new evidence gathered and tested
  5. Be well referenced to other scientists' work

Thank You  The seven signs of bogus science were written by Robert L. Park and adapted by Michael Douma. Dr. Park is a professor of physics at the University of Maryland at College Park and the director of public information for the American Physical Society. He is the author of Voodoo Science: The Road From Foolishness to Fraud (Oxford University Press, 2002) which we also recommend.

Web Site Reviews

In our travels on the web researching this 'Evolution for Teaching' site we have come across many websites of varied quality and usefulness. In order to help others source clear and expert information we list and comment here on a few of those websites. This section will build over time and in the future we would like to place the websites within a table and provide a rating system for easy reference. This website shows the geological time scale. You can click on each epoch and find information about it. It is a very well written site released by the University of Berkeley. This website has been written to support a TV series about evolution. It has some great animations on it and is well worth a look. This website has information about mammals from the Palaeocene. This is the homepage of the BBC series Walking with dinosaurs; although not as good as the book it has some interesting facts and animations. A great website about evolution and the fossil record, produced by the American Geological Institute in cooperation with the Paleontological Society. Lots of learning activities about fossils, macro and microfossils, including dinosaurs. A resource prepared for teachers. Here is a (tasty) teaching activity to demonstrate natural selection..

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