learning portfolio 4 – activity





The Conversation is a news and opinion site that was founded in a partnership between the CSIRO and several high-profile universities.  It offers news and opinion pieces which are well-referenced and can be cited.  It is reputable enough to be cited by ABC news, which vouches for the quality of content. Having read it for some time the articles are always written to a high standard, and although opinion is offered it is always backed up with supporting research.

conversation founding partners




IMDB – The Internet Movie Database – is a website that I have been visiting for many years, and it has always provided accurate information.  It lists extensive information about movies and tv shows and the production crew and actors involved.





Getup! is a non-profit petition website wherein different organizations and charities can host petitions and donation drives. I have not used it personally but have seen various friends on Facebook sharing different petitions for many years, so I presume it is credible.




daily life.png

Daily Life is a website I have never really used, but I am aware of because I follow the work of some of the contributors on Facebook who cross-post their articles. On the surface it looks life a well-designed, professionally run news and opinion website. It follows the standard pattern of a typical news site, and is easily skimmed and navigated.

learning portfolio 4 – Q3


  • Contact information – for some websites a phone number or physical address are unnecessary, but an email and some sort of short biography about the site administrator are a good idea
  • Advertising – are there pop-up ads? The use of targeted ads, using information collected about you makes websites seem intrusive and untrustworthy
  • Communication with users – how quickly does the website respond to enquiries and are those responses professionally worded and presented? Do users receive updates if they have subscribed or bought something?
  • Content – how much content is presented, how recent is it, how relevant is it? Outdated content signifies a lack of interest or dedication on the part of the site creators
  • Grammar and spelling – is the site well written using good grammar and correct spelling? Poorly written websites come across as unprofessional, and potentially run by scammers
  • Links – do any links to external websites work? Are the links provided to credible, good quality websites?
  • Site functioning – does the site work? Are there bugs? Are there broken links and parts of the site you can’t access?
  • FAQ – if there is an FAQ does it address the major questions, and is it easy to ask a different question? Lack of ability to enquire suggests a lack of trustworthiness

learning portfolio 4 – Q2


Wikipedia is not a credible resource for academic assignments because anyone can contribute or update entries.  This means that “Users may be reading information that is outdated or that has been posted by someone who is not an expert in the field or by someone who wishes to provide misinformation” (Harvard University, 2016).  Much of the information on Wikipedia may be correct and up to date, but there is no guarantee of this, and sometimes entries are trolled with misinformation, malicious content or joke entries.  However the site does employ editors and unlike print sources “errors can be corrected and often are in a matter of hours” (Ghajar, 2010-2016).  Therefore it is up to the reader to use their own discretion and assess whether the presented information seems credible.

Wikipedia is a useful resource for familiarizing oneself with a topic.  It is best used as a launching point for further research using credible resources.  In fact, the founder of Wikipedia himself stated in an interview with Business Week that “People shouldn’t be citing encyclopedias in the first place. Wikipedia and other encyclopedias should … give good, solid background information to inform your studies for a deeper level.” (Ghajar, 2010-2016).  Whilst Wikipedia is not a credible resource, it can be a valuable learning tool in the beginning stages of research.  Entries may also provide references which are credible and usable in an academic context.



Ghajar, L. A. (2010-2016). Wikipedia: Credible Research Source or Not? TeachingHistory.org.  Retrieved from http://teachinghistory.org/digital-classroom/ask-a-digital-historian/23863

Harvard University. (2016). Evaluating Web Sources. Harvard Guide to Using Sources: A Publication of the Harvard College Writing Program.  Retrieved from http://isites.harvard.edu/icb/icb.do?keyword=k70847&pageid=icb.page346375


learning portfolio 4 – Q1


It is important to evaluate the credibility of the websites you are using in order to make sure that the information is true and relevant.  The credibility of your sources affects the credibility of your own work.  Fogg describes credibility as a combination of two elements: trustworthiness and expertise (2003, p. 123). Trustworthiness is the perceived goodness or moral worth of the source.  Expertise is described as the perceived knowledge or skill level of the source.  For credibility to be achieved, both trustworthiness and expertise are necessary.

The Harvard University Guide to Using Sources website recommends assessing web resources to “determine the author’s credentials as well as the purpose and rationale for posting the site in the first place.” (Harvard University, 2016).  John Hopkins University recommends considering how “’fresh’ or ‘dusty’” (John Hopkins University Library, 2016) the source is.  For instance if the resource is older, newer research may have since been published which disproves earlier theories.

When completing assignments as a student, I have always been told that websites are not acceptable as references, as they are not considered credible.  However I often do preliminary research via websites, using resources like Wikipedia for a general rundown on a subject, and searching individual questions I may have.  I then use that knowledge base to guide my primary research via the ECU catalogue.  So it is important that the websites I am using for my initial research are credible.  If they contain untrue or misleading information then I will have an incorrect understanding of the research topic, and may find further research difficult.



Fogg, B. J. (2003). Persuasive technology: using computers to change what we think and do. Amsterdam: Morgan Kaufmann Publishers.

Harvard University. (2016). Evaluating Web Sources. Harvard Guide to Using Sources: A Publication of the Harvard College Writing Program.  Retrieved from http://isites.harvard.edu/icb/icb.do?keyword=k70847&pageid=icb.page346375

John Hopkins University Library. (2016). Evaluating Internet Resources. Evaluating Information.  Retrieved from http://guides.library.jhu.edu/c.php?g=202581&p=1334997