RADAR: An approach for helping students evaluate Internet sources
The Internet has become an integral part of all aspects of the life of twenty-first-century learners. Yet research shows that students’ ease and familiarity with the mechanics of the medium are not matched by their ability to evaluate electronic sources critically. Both faculty and library professionals are acutely aware of this, and much help is available to students in the form of checklists and guides to evaluating Internet sources. Students still seem to be falling through the cracks, however. The author suggests the adoption of the ‘RADAR’ approach to evaluating Internet sources. Just as a ship’s captain needs electronic radar to navigate safely and efficiently through the ocean, so the information searcher needs a similar scanning device, that is, a critical, mental radar, when exploring the vast sea of information on the Internet. This device can help students develop a critical awareness of the need to establish the Relevance, Authority, Date, Appearance and Reason for writing of each web source that they encounter. Preliminary qualitative research amongst both native and non-native English-speaking college students suggests a positive user response to both the concept and the tool, providing grounds for further empirical investigation.