What Makes Information Good?

I’m going to break away from my norm a little bit here, and instead of connecting course readings to information literacy, today I want to ask what seems to me a big question:

What makes information good?

To break it down a little bit, I might also ask:

What kind of information do you look for and/or consume most frequently? (News, ideas, how-tos, scholarly or research articles, opinion pieces?)

What is it that gives information credibility? (What do you look for when assessing the veracity of a source? Are there some sources you trust automatically? Why?)

One of my goals is not just to create content, but to curate it, and to learn from others online. I’m interested in knowing what and how people think about information, so please leave your feedback in the comments!

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3 thoughts on “What Makes Information Good?

  1. Merisenda Bills says:

    I look at a lot of “how to” tutorials whenever I set out on learning/creating something new. It helps if these have visuals or can point to other resources I can use. To me, the visual layout of these is also important – is it easy to read? easy to follow?

    In regards to news, I try to triangulate my sources. If I see a headline/news article, I will read through it but also try to read the same topic from different venues. I use twitter or facebook sometimes – only because I follow certain people that I can trust they will have vetted the information before sharing/posting it (I was a former journalism major and still in contact with my former professors).

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  2. In my past three years of teaching, the information I have looked for most often is related to resources and ideas for my English lessons. I tend to focus most on websites that are designed to specifically share resources with English teachers, such as webenglishteacher.com. Occasionally, I will also look at information posted on an individual teacher’s website. In that case, the presentation of the resource affects how I feel about the credibility; when teachers have polished, well-designed resources online, that signals to me that the resources are probably fairly credible. Ultimately, though, I usually “consume” this information as part of my brainstorming process; the true credibility of a resource or lesson idea still comes from how I integrate this idea into my purposes for my lesson. Especially if the resource includes factual material (such as biographical information about an author), I am going to check that information with a credible website (such as the Folger website if I am looking for information about Shakespeare).

    I have never really been one to look up news articles on a regular basis, but this year, I have experienced the benefits of signing up for email lists so that I can have more access to information, like education articles. I know that I am not going to look at edweek.org every day, but getting regular emails has drawn my attention to several articles that I have then decided to read. So to answer your question about what makes information good, I would say that one important aspect is for information to be accessible in a format that fits the needs of the person consuming that information.

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