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Veterinary Nursing: Using Websites

Evaluating a website

Evaluating information from the web

Consider these criteria when looking for information on web sites:

Accuracy

Is the information factual, not opinion? 
How valid is the research that is the source? 
Is the site free of errors in spelling or grammar and other signs of carelessness in its presentation of the material?

Authority

Is the author's name given? 
Are her/his qualifications specified? 
Is the author affiliated with a reputable institution or organization? 
Has the author written elsewhere on this topic?
If this is an organization or business website, are they qualified to speak on this topic?
Are additional electronic and print sources referenced to complement or support the material presented?

Bias

Is the information factual, not opinion? 
Where arguments are given, are they based on strong evidence and good logic? 
Is the author's point of view impartial and objective? 
Is the author's language free of emotion and bias?

Audience level

What audience is the Web site designed for? 
Is it too basic or too technical for your needs?

Currency

is this web site current? 
Is the date of the most recent update given?
If this is a book or article, how old is the information?

Why use sources from the web?

The advantages of Web sources :

  • easy to access
  • easy to find
  • up-to-date ( always check that site has been recently updated)

But... ! Anyone can publish on the web, so it's important to evaluate the information you find by looking at:

  1. Who?   Who is the author? Is he/she a qualified expert with academic credentials and other publication in the subject?
  2. Why?   Why was it written? Is it fact based, opinion based? Is it intended to educate, inform, entertain, sell something?
  3. Where?   Where did the information come from? Is it a popular press publication, an academic publication, or something else?
  4. When?   When was it written? Has it been updated? Do newer editions or revisions exist?

See Evaluating Your Sources Guide for more tips.

Internet for:

Veterinary Medicine

Here's some good advice on conducting scientific research on the internet.

Google Scholar

Google Scholar looks and feels like Google Search, but the results are different because it searches scholarly papers instead of general websites.

You can link Google Scholar to DkIT Library's resources to make it easier to find material we have available.
To do this in Google Scholar, click Settings, then click Library links. Type in "Dundalk Institute of Technology" and click the Search icon. DkIT should appear in the list. Put a tick beside it and click Save.

Google Scholar Search

Websites for your modules

See what websites your lecturers recommend for specific modules.:

  http://courses.dkit.ie/

Using News sources (in the Sciences)

News sources, including newspapers are good for:

  • getting the most up-to-date information on a topic
  • gaining an understanding of public feeling, debate & popular analysis of an issue
  • identifying key trends

Remember that:

  • newspapers are not scholarly sources
  • some newspapers are considered more reliable than others
  • each paper will have an editorial viewpoint which it wants to promote.

You may choose to use a sensational or obviously biased article to make a point, but you will need to justify this decision and give your reasons for it.

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