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Applied Nutrition
Internet Assignment 3
Instructions:
Read the follow material and use the internet to obtain information. Answer the questions on a separate text document such as MS Word, Notepad or Write then send it to me as an e-mail attachment at barry_bw@yahoo.com

Assignment Three
Vegetarians versus Meat Eaters

Take a quick look at the sites listed below and see if you can quickly and easily answer these questions about each site:
 

  • Who wrote the information? 
  • Who is paying the bill to publish the information?
  • Is there an inherent bias? 
  • Do the authors quote research that can be checked or repeated?
  • How recent is the information?
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Site 1 Site 2 Site 3
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To find out who is supporting a site, we need to understand where Internet information comes from.

Diagram of major contributors to the Internet

Major contributors of Internet information can be organized into 4 large categories:
  • Government sites, including 3 huge federally-funded national libraries,
  • Educational institutions: universities, colleges, &research institutions.
  • Commercial enterprises, everyone trying to sell you something.
  • Nonprofit organizations, all those organizations with a point of view, like Amnesty International or the American Red Cross.
You can tell which of these four categories is posting the information by looking at the URL, or address of the site. Here is a typical URL:
divisions of a URL
Think of the URL as directions the computer uses to get to the Website you want. The first part, http://, tells the computer what protocol to use. The second part, www.llu.edu, is the domain name and tells the computer what system to look for. The next part tells which directories to find on that system. In this example, we have a directory called llu, and inside that directory should be another directory called vegetarian. The last part tells what document inside the vegetarian directory to load, in this case a document called redmeat.htm.

It's that second part, the top level domain name, that tells us from which type of institution this document is coming. Fortunately for researchers, each one of the four big contributors uses a different domain name ending:

diagram with domain name endings
In our example URL, the domain name (www.llu.edu) ends in .edu, which tells us that the webpage probably comes from a four-year college or research organization.
Type this address into the location bar at the top of the screen and go directly to the homepage of the organization: Location bar with 'www.llu.edu' typed in
Question 1
Now you can determine what organization or institution is supporting this page. In this particular case, what is the supporting institution?
Question 2
Look again at the 2nd and 3rd sites. Notice that as you run your cursor over the links, the URL will appear at the bottom of your screen. Without even clicking on the links, what can you determine about the sites by their domain name?
Question 3

Now click on each site and see if you can find answers to those 5 questions (who wrote it, what institution is supporting it, is there a bias, are sources given, and when was it written). Keep in mind that these sites may be one single page of a much more comprehensive site. We are only trying to analyse the one single page, not the entire site. 

Unfortunately, these distinctions are beginning to blur. Educational institutions are choosing .com for their domain names. And new endings keep cropping up. But this scheme at least gives us a rough idea of the majority of sites.

 Let's try using the search engine ProFusion to find more sites. If we want to find information on the influence of a meat diet on heart disease, we might type in a search like this:

"heart disease" and meat and diet

We are using Boolean logic again, telling the search engine to find us articles that contain the term heart disease and the term meat and the term diet. We signify that the first two words (heart disease) should be held together as a phrase by putting the quotes around them.

Notice the small box below the Search bob labelled Search Type:. Click on the small black arrow to see a list of options, and from that list, highlight Boolean . This tells the search engine to treat our search terms using Boolean logic.
Scan through your result list and pick out some sites with .edu, .org, .com or .gov top level domain names. Remember that you're looking at the part of the URL between the double slashes and the first single slash. You'll notice some sites that have different domain endings:
    • .net stands for network, and is another non-profit designation, usually.
    • .au is a site from Australia. .ca refers usually to Canada, and .uk is for the United Kingdom. Look at the piece of the address just to the left of this country designation for the type of organization.
    • .cc.ca.us is coming from a community college in California. .cc.ny.us comes from a community college in New York, and so on. Gavilan's address is: http://gavilan.cc.ca.us/
Question 4
Pick a few of the sites from your list that look like they might have something useful, and visit them. Describe one of them by answering those key questions that you need to keep in mind when analyzing websites:
  • Who wrote the information? 
  • Who is paying the bill to publish the information?
  • Is there an inherent bias? 
  • Do the authors quote research that can be checked or repeated?
  • How recent is the information?

picture of a Dancing turkey

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Citation forms for Websites have a few elements added to them, such as:
  • The address of the site 

  • (Uniform Resource Locator, or URL), 
    which is that long string of characters that usually starts with: http://
  • The title on the homepage of the supporting institution or organization 
  • Two different dates:
    1. The date the site was posted, and
    2. The date that you found it (date accessed).
Here's a picture of the format:

Many times you won't be able to find the author of a Website. This is a common problem with Internet sites. In this case, you simply start the citation with the title of the article, followed by the date posted.

You also might not be able to find a date for the posting. To get this date, remember that you can pull down the VIEW option (from the menu bar across the top of your screen) and look at Page Info. Sometimes the date will be entered there. Use the Last modified date. To close this information page, click on the X in the top right corner.

 

picture of options from VIEW menu item
Here's an example of a citation for a website:
citation for the Vegetarian Health & Nutrition article
Question 6
Follow this example to write a citation for the article that you described above. Notice the two dates listed, one after the other. The first is the date the article was posted; the second is the date you found the article.

 To signify underlining for the supporting institution, start and end the name with an underline.

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Road Sign Summary
In this lesson, you've had the opportunity to break down the URLs of Websites (addresses), in order to find the homepage, the organization that is sponsoring the Website (and probably adding its own bias). 

You've also had the opportunity to play with more search tools, using an Internet search engine, ProFusion.

  • Words surrounded by quotation marks will be kept together, and searched as a phrase.
  • Words separated by the Boolean connector AND will be treated as separate terms.
And you've had the opportunity to write one more citation, this time for a Website.

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You're almost finished.
Make sure you add your  name. I.D.,  and your e-mail address to your answears , save a copy of your work  on disk then   send your answears to me as an  attachment   to an e-mail   my e-mail address is:  barry_bw@yahoo.com


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Address of this page:
http://barry-b.tripod.com/assignment3.html
For questions or comments, please send e-mail to
Barry Brazier at barry_bw@yahoo.com
Last updated on August 24, 2002

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