Journalism Major and Senior at UMass researches . . . The Peter Rost Blog
I just love this one . . . Emma is a senior at UMass Amherst and majors in English and Journalism. She also writes the blog Emma's Mind.
Here's what she writes under the headline The Web: Fact or Fiction?:
So for an assignment we had to examine one search engine, one website and one blog and write about how we can tell if they are reliable or not.
So I chose to research Dogpile for my search engine. Like Henderson, I researched who coined the phrase “Question Authority” and was bombarded with about sixteen different answers. It could have been started in the 60’s or the 70’s, it could have been coined by Timothy Leary, a writer and psychologist, some even credit a 70’s bumper sticker. The point is that with so many different answers to one question it is hard to distinguish fact from fallacy. It would be very important when using a search engine like Dogpile to check as many sources as possible. I do feel that it may be a bit difficult to find a search engine that has a completely correct database, but I also believe that there shouldn’t be so many answers to one question.
Next I explored a website. The one I chose was Hippyland Glossary. It is a site that explains all of the “hip” terms used in the 60’s and 70’s. I think this site is as reliable as one like this could be. It is user edited, and users can add their own information. The sources are pretty reliable because they are people who were part of this counter culture, and lived the life expressed on this page. There is no conclusive evidence that this website is accurate, but when I checked a few other websites for backup the information seemed correct. With slang and lifestyle words it is hard to find out what is correct, and what is guess work. Henderson says to check the sources and authors of the website, but on this website there are no specific authors or sources.
The last thing I researched was Peter Rost’s Blog. Peter Rost, M.D., is a former Pfizer Marketing Vice President providing services as an expert witness, speaker and writer. According to Fortune “Peter Rost has become the drug industry’s most annoying - and effective - online scourge . . . Rost’s blog is one part mocking rant, two parts investigative chronicle . . . Even his critics admit that when Rost is on his game, he is a force to be reckoned with.” Peter Rost is clearly a reliable source. He is a doctor and an expert witness, speaker and writer. Another example of Rost’s affectability is that two days after he reported how Palin’s email was hacked BBC, USA Today and other news sources reported the same information. Rost is like the intelligent and reliable Matt Drudge. Rost links out to other sources, and provides back up information to his arguments. I believe that of all three web sources I researched Rost’s blog was the most accurate and had the most sources to back up the information provided.
So what I can gather from this assignment is that when researching on the web one must check many sources, because sometimes what appears to be accurate may not be.