Last Monday, we discussed a list of questions one should answer when evaluating a source. Today’s post answers the following questions:
• Who runs the site?
• Why have they created the site?
These questions should be easy to determine. Look at the home page for an organization/individual name. Most sites contain an “About” or “About Us” page. Go ahead and look at that. Alternatively, you may find the needed information under “Contact Us.” However, if it takes you that much effort to get your answer, you should probably run away. Once you determine who is running the site, see if you can locate more in-depth information. The American Lung Association (ALA)* website is helpful in this aspect as they provide “About Us”, “Our History”, “Our Impact” and “Our Leaders” pages on their site.
Determining the reason of creation is sometimes a bit trickier. For example, an organization might have multiple goals, such as education, fund raising, to alert others to their business. Spend a few moments to familiarize yourself with the site and see if the creators state the purpose explicitly. Often you can find this in the same pages used to answer the first question. To give you an example of this process in action, look at what I found within 10 minutes on the ALA site.
An Introduction to the Organization and Its Purpose
The ALA is responsible for their presence on the web. The ALA is “America’s oldest voluntary health organization, founded in 1904 as the National Association for the Study and Prevention of Tuberculosis– dedicated to combating tuberculosis (TB), the most dreaded disease of the time” (American Lung Association, 2015a). The website contains extensive information regarding the operation of the website, as well as ALA organization in general. “The Board of Directors is the governing body responsible to the public for the American Lung Association’s mission and effectiveness…[and] for establishing the strategic direction of the organization and ensuring accountability nationwide” (American Lung Association, 2015c). The Board combines individuals from many different backgrounds, including physicians, nurses, public health professionals, educators (AE-C), lawyers, and business specialists (i.e. CFP, MBA), which is desirable on a health-based website. The mission of the ALA is “To save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease” (American Lung Association, 2015d). As part of this mission, the ALA utilizes a website to expand their reach “through research, education and advocacy” (American Lung Association, 2015a). The purpose of the website is as an education tool for the public (including the media), as well as health professionals. It also focuses on research and funding for programs aimed at preventing and reducing the incidences of lung disease.
If you have questions about the series or a particular website, please comment below or send your query to firstname.lastname@example.org.
*The Eclectic Data Hunter is not affiliated with the organization or website used in this post. All rights belong to their respective owners and authors. Usage does not convey endorsement. Use of the ALA site is for educational purposes only.