Week 4: Credibility

Question 1: The author of this week’s article (Fogg) discussed credibility as a key attribute to evaluate online resources. In your own words, describe why it is important that we evaluate credibility of websites.  In your discussion, provide an example of how credibility of the Web resources could affect you as a student

The Cambridge English dictionary defines credibility as, “the fact that someone or something can be believed or trusted” (“Credability,” 2017) Credibility when evaluating online resources is important as it means whether or not the resource and its information is accurate and trustworthy. While the internet is full of information and resources it doesn’t mean all of it is true and accurate. Therefore it is important to find credible sources online with correct information. The credibility of an online source is important to look at when evaluating a site as the information may be false or biased.

For students credibility is highly important. Not using credible sources can effect students working making the information in it false or untrue. This can hinder student performance in assessments as they are then providing unreliable information, using such sources can also cause plagiarism issues for students which can also hinder their performance.

Columbia University has provided a guideline for evaluating the credibility of online sources:

  • Authorship: always look for the name of the author on the work. Works created anonymously are less credible, what are the authors credentials, what is their experience on the topic?
  • Publisher: The publisher can help find the origin of the document. This means whether it is produced by an established publisher, a government agency, a nonprofit organization, or a commercial website. You also need to consider the publisher’s reputation and trustworthiness.
  • Accuracy & Objectivity: Can the facts presented on a website be substantiated elsewhere? Beware of information that presents a biased view. Always check multiple sources to determine credibility.
  • Timeliness: Be aware of when the web page was created and how recently it’s been updated.
  • Footnotes and bibliographies: Legitimate references and links to other sources can add to a document’s credibility and depth.
  • Sponsorship: Some websites are approved by a parent organization to which they’re linked. Others can be on a parent site but not officially sponsored by the organization

(Mills, 2017)



Credability. (2017).   Retrieved from http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/credibility

Mills, A. (2017). Evaluating Online Sources.   Retrieved from http://library.columbia.edu/locations/undergraduate/evaluating_web.html



Question 2: In the learning portfolio, Wikipedia is not accepted as a credible resource for academic assignments. What do you think is the reason Wikipedia is not accepted?


Wikipedia is not a reliable source due to the fact it can be edited by anyone in the world at any time. Wikipedia itself has gone on to say

Wikipedia is not a reliable source. Wikipedia can be edited by anyone at any time. This means that any information it contains at any particular time may not be accurate and may indeed be vandalismBiographies of living persons are especially vulnerable to this issue.” (“Wikipedia: Wikipedia is not a reliable source,” 2017)

 Anyone in the world can contribute to Wikipedia which means the information on it can be altered, added to or removed at anytime. While some information on Wikipedia may be accurate there are very little admins that check every bit of information for accuracy. This means that there is information on Wikipedia that can go months without being corrected. There are also no authors of the works on Wikipedia this means there is no way to tell what knowledge the author has on the topic they’ve written about.

Unlike academic sources Wikipedia is a general overview of a subject that is designed for consumption by the general public. Wikipedia’s information does not come from primary studies like academic resources do which makes it less reputable. When developing an idea, in a paper for example it is important that reliable and accurate sources are used, showing that what academics and experts have said to back up your point strengthens the argument. Wikipedia is not one of these sources, there for it doesn’t strengthen the argument at all meaning work can be seen as less impressive and usable.



Wikipedia: Wikipedia is not a reliable source. (2017).   Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_is_not_a_reliable_source



Question 3: The findings of Frogg’s studies conducted in 1999 and 2002 indicated that peoples perception of Web credibility has changed. For example peoples perception on non-profit organisation websites has changed since 1999. This is because nowadays setting up a nonprofit website is easy and therefor the image of nonprofit websites has lost its value. In dot points, in your own works, list anticipated issues that may affect users’ perceived Web credibility in the future.


  • Anonymity: A rise in online anonymity would mean that users find websites less credible as it is harder to determine whether the author has the right and knowledge to give people information on the topic.
  • Lack of User Centred Design: failing to have a design that centres around the user and making it easy to use can lead to users getting frustrated and wondering if the site is accurate.
  • Broken links: Having broken links on the site conveys to readers that you cannot accurately show where any other information is on this topic meaning it can be harder for them to see if the information provided is accurate.
  • Failing to Regularly Update: If users cannot see when the last date the site was updates this can hinder how credible they find the site. We live in a world that is constantly changing and updating and if a site fails to keep up with the new flow of information the credibility can decrease.
  • Lack of contact/communication: Not giving users a way to comment or communicate with each other and the author about the topic can lead to confusion and frustration. This means users can’t get any questions or issues with the information or website addressed quickly and easily.



Find a website for each type of credibility (i.e. presumed, reputed, surface and earned) and upload snapshots of the website on your blog. Provide a brief explanation why the websites are credible.


  1. Presumed: Raw Impact:

Screen Shot 2017-06-04 at 12.11.28 pm.png

Presumed credibility is based on general assumptions in the users mind. Raw Impact is a non-profit organisation with their URL ending in ‘.org’ this highlights that they are a non for profit organisation so due to this lack of commercial gain their site is presumed more reputable, also because they are a charity group their information is presumed to be accurate.

2. Reputed: http://www.boohoo.com 


Reputed credibility is based on third party endorsements and reports or referrals. Online clothing retailer Boohoo is an exampled of a reputed online source as at the bottom of the site it displays the multiple awards it has one. It is also a site that is promoted via word of mouth a lot, with it being promoted on many other sites. Many people recommend it to friends making it more credible as their customers have faith in it and pass it on to others.


  1. Surface: Waafle.com

Screen Shot 2017-06-04 at 12.25.44 pm.png

Surface credibility is based on first impressions of the site and on how it looks.  Waafle is a company that allows other companies to control their social media and create custom user handles, hashtags and to measure audience engagement and watch any competition. The website at first glance looks aesthetically pleasing and professionally designed which increases its surface credibility. It also loads quickly and moves seamlessly despite its high-quality graphics.


  1. Earned: youtube.com

Screen Shot 2017-06-04 at 12.32.02 pm.png

Earned credibility comes from first-hand experience that has been built over time. An example of this is YouTube. YouTube is an earned credibility site as it recognises users have been there before and tailors the home page to content users have watched before, providing them with content they believe the user will enjoy. It is also easy to navigate as the side bar has easily recognisable categories such as subscriptions, trending and recommended so users know exactly what they can expect in each area. The search bar also means users can quickly and easily find what they want consistently.


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