Choose any topic in mental health and list two reliable sources and list two questionable internet sources. How did you go about determining that the latter two were questionable / unreliable?
Topics such as “Mental Health Service” and “Mental Health Care” are reliable and credible sources because they come from peer-reviewed or refereed journals. On the contrary, topics on “Good Mental Health” and “Mental Health” are questionable / unreliable sources – for the following reasons:
First, Ask and Wikipedia do not have specific authors on mental health. I will not be able to know who exactly wrote the sites’ informal contents and encyclopedic entries, respectively. I cannot double check who the authors and editors were. This is because anyone who wants to contribute, post or publish his/her ideas, opinions, etc. can simply do so. If I want to post my query or answer a question about mental health, for instance, I can simply publish my question or answer – fast, easy and hassle-free. When it comes to Wikipedia.com, I can also do the same. In addition, I would either easily or not easily know whether the article has quality content or fabricated one. Hence, gullible readers may even use the unreliable materials for their own use. Worse, they may even disseminate the wrong information for everyone to read. Hence, if I cite topics on mental health in Ask and Wikipedia websites for my formal or academic paper, my own credibility might also be at stake.
Second, Ask and Wikipedia’s contents on the topic about mental health (just like most of their other topics/contents) did not undergo peer or expert review. Ask is simply for everyone’s (asker and answerer) consumption. Wikipedia, on the other hand, has editors who sometimes overlook to edit ‘all’ entries or to delete some factually erroneous information. Ask apparently, does not edit the questions and answers; whereas, Wikipedia.com, although its editors’ edit some of the entries, they are not often updated. Hence, my own credibility is under questioning if I use Ask and Wikipedia sites for my scholarly works on mental health.
Third, Ask and Wikipedia do not cite other credible authorities on the subject about mental health. Although they provide external links or secondary sources, I still have to find out myself whether the materials are also credible enough or not. Hence, I have to visit each source material if they were indeed culled out from refereed journals, educational sites (.edu), and so forth. In addition to the credibility of the works cited in Ask and Wikipedia, links are simply provided and no specific formatting style guide (e.g., APA, MLA, ASA, Harvard, etc.) is evidently use.
The topics above will speak on their own. Ask.com published an answer to a query about mental health that is already seven years old. Wikipedia.com, on the other hand, has a content that is intermittently updated by anyone anytime. Thus, I will not cite the two sites for my scholarly paper on mental health – except for other purposes.
Ask.com. What is Good Mental Health? 2011. Web. 11 April 2013.
Morris, Jodi, et al. "Treated Prevalence of and Mental Health Services Received By Children and Adolescents in 42 Low-and-Middle-Income Countries." Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 52.12 (2011): 1239-1246. Web. 11 April 2013.
Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Mental Health. 7 April 2013. Web. 11 April 2013.
Woodhead, Erin, et al. "Age-Related Concomitants of Obtaining Mental Health Care in Adulthood." American Journal of Health Behavior 37.2 (2013): 269-276. Web. 11 April 2013.