Are you searching for good information on the internet about a certain topic? Are you wondering if the blog you’re reading is a reliable source?
Fake news is practically everywhere. You see them on certain websites. You also chance upon them on popular social media platforms.
Studies reveal that there are over 1.7 billion websites today. About 600 million of which are blog sites. With an endless amount of resources online, it is easy to fall for misleading sources.
So the common question is “are blogs reliable?” How can you tell if the blog site you’re visiting is sharing truth instead of lies?
Continue reading below as we tackle blog sites and the different ways of vetting your sources.
Good Information: Do Blogs Have Them?
Do blogs provide good information? The answer is “yes.” There are countless numbers of blog sites that cater to users looking for customer reviews.
There are also blogs that educate people on how to operate stuff. Others provide solutions to mundane and complex problems.
Furthermore, there are blogs that guide people on health concerns. And if you’re looking for trustworthy content on health, wellness, and medical insurance, you can read more blogs here.
However, not all sites can claim that they are reliable sources of information. There are key reasons as to why cross-checking the veracity of blogs is a must.
Blogs give a lot of leeway for subjectivity. This means bloggers can include their biases and personal slants on various topics. On the flip side, mainstream news articles provide the facts of the matter with little to no biases.
And because of this flexibility, inaccuracy can find its way to blogs. Blogs do not have any structure for accountability. There is no governing body that monitors and fact-checks the blogs’ veracity.
In turn, some bloggers may cite inaccurate information. Others may use outdated statistics that may mislead readers. The problem with these is that not everyone has the initiative to fact-check or perform due diligence.
Vetting Your Sources: It Starts with the Domain Name
Now that we have established the need to vet your sources, the next step is to learn how to check your source’s credibility. For starters, pay attention to its domain name, particularly its last three letters.
This will give you a hint on what the website is offering. For example, if you see the letters “edu,” it means the site is under the education category. Sites with these three letters are most of the time credible.
The same thing goes if the site ends with “gov.” This means the site is a government site. Things get tricky once you see “com” at the end.
This means the site is commercial. Commercial sites are relatively safe. But if you’re not too careful, some of these sites may deceive you one way or another.
Examine the Source
Another step for vetting your sources is to check the source itself. This means checking the credentials of the author. Try to zoom in on the background of the source in relation to the topic he’s writing about.
If you’re doing research on bone injuries, check if the author is a chiropractor or orthopedic expert. If you wish to learn about stocks and mutual funds, check if the author is a stockbroker or wealth manager.
If the author provides references to vouch for his credentials, then you’re likely in good shape. Also, check the data and information that they use to support their articles. Do they provide links from reputable sources?
A good tip is to start with the sources you and everybody else are familiar with. If they cite trusted news outfits, then the blog should be fine.
Mind the Date
As we mentioned earlier, some blogs use outdated statistics. Though the numbers may be true, they are only true in the past, as the latest numbers already trump them.
Outdate numbers, stats, and graphs may stand as truthful on their own. But if you consider the date when they apply, it can easily change the complexion of the information. This is more evident in topics where information can change quickly.
Look at the publishing dates of their sources. The rule of thumb is for the dates to be near the time the topic first came out initially.
Look for Corroborating Articles
Last but not least, look for other articles that will corroborate the claims of the blog post. The key to fact-checking blogs means not stopping at your first source.
Head on to Google and conduct additional research about the topic. Get specific information from the blog and double-check it against other reputable sources. Find out what other sources are saying about the topic.
Do legitimate websites support the claims of the blog post? When cross-checking blogs, find sources like news articles instead of opinion pieces. Take note of reputable articles that contradict the blog.
If you find many articles that debunk the claims of the blog, then the latter is likely spreading false information.
Alternatively, you can go to your local library to access research databases. Even if Google gives you answers in a matter of seconds, nothing beats the library when it comes to vetting for accuracy.
As for the databases, you may have to apply for a subscription to access them. These databases contain information and data that are not readily available online. These are usually online journals, printed articles, and books.
The good thing about these sources is many of them went through peer-review. This means the information that you will read passed through many industry experts.
The problem with some blogs is the lack of peer-review. One blog site may claim that their article is bible truth. But if you check for any sources of peer-review, they cannot show a single one.
Increase Your Research Skills
Blogs are instant sources of good information if you know how to spot one. By applying the tips we discussed, you can distinguish a trusted blog from one that only aims to mislead.
Furthermore, we encourage you to increase your research skills by reading our other articles. We discuss topics and provide tips that will help you become more discerning in this age of fake news and misinformation.