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Internet Searching & Evaluating Information

Why search the web? How do you search it? And how do you determine what you've found is reliable? Explore this guide to learn more.

Hoax Websites: Can You Spot How These Information Sources are Fake?

This site, at first glance, appears to give information about a possibly dangerous chemical called Dihydrogen Monoxide. There are links to reports, an overview of the "controversy", and related information. If you knew nothing about chemistry, what would you think of this website?


  • CURRENCY - at the bottom of the page it states that the last update was in 2020
  • RELEVANCE - the content appears to be written for people interested in the compound Dihydrogen Monoxide
  • AUTHORITY - the website claims to be part of the United States Environmental Assessment Center, which when searched in Google, does not exist; it is copyrighted by a person named Tom Way, but with no links or information about this person; Google reveals that he is a professor at Villanova University
  • ACCURACY - it appears unbiased with accurate spelling and grammar; the links are functioning, but the "report" are only text documents within the site; it does link to reputable pages such as the US Environmental Protection Agency; there is a note at the bottom claiming "Note: content veracity not implied"
  • PURPOSE - the site's purpose appears to be to highlight the dangers of Dihydrogen Monoxide, but we've found that this chemical is actually water - which can be dangerous in certain contexts (e.g. drowning) - but this site is clearly satire meant to entertain

Conclusion - this is NOT a valid website to use in scholarly research!