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Library Home: Online Reference Centre

UQ Library Virtual Reference Center

The University of Queensland Library has a very comprehensive Virtual Reference Collection.

Use it to find answers to specific questions quickly - facts, figures, addresses, statistics, definitions and dates.

How to Write Great Assignments

Website Evaluation

With a sea of information coming at us from all directions, how do we sift out the misinformation and bogus claims, and get to the truth? Michael Shermer of Skeptic Magazine lays out a "Baloney Detection Kit," ten questions we should ask when encountering a claim.

The 10 Questions:
1. How reliable is the source of the claim?
2.Does the source make similar claims?
3. Have the claims been verified by somebody else?
4. Does this fit with the way the world works?
5. Has anyone tried to disprove the claim?
6. Where does the preponderance of evidence point?
7. Is the claimant playing by the rules of science?
8. Is the claimant providing positive evidence?
9. Does the new theory account for as many phenomena as the old theory?
10. Are personal beliefs driving the claim?

Most of these questions are easily able to be adapted to evaluating websites as well: use them to sift out misinformation and decide if the site is valid and reliable.