Searching for credible evidence

In class this week Clare asked us to research 3 sources for 2 topics: digital citizenship and virtualization technology  and answer 7 questions on each. Because my mother has been in and out of hospital for the last week, and I have been helping look after her when she was at home so please forgive my brevity in this research journal entry.

Digital citizenship

  1. Core Education Digital Citizenship web-page article


Search terms: “Digital citizenship”

How you found it: I found it by Google searching and it was near the bottom of the first page of results.

Who wrote/create it: No authors name is mentioned even though the article is written in first person, none of the other pages contained an authors name.

However Derek Wenmoth (Director of e-Learning at Core Education) coordinated the writing of the article series.

When was it written/created/recorded/published?: It was written in 2013 as part of an article of Educational trends in 2013 written on the Core Education website. Core Education is a professional development website for teachers and educators (“Home » CORE Education,” n.d.).

What kind of publication is it: Educational article (part of a series on education trends in 2013) it also includes a video that covers the same content as the written article.

How credible(believable) do you think it is: I view this article as credible because it is relatively recent having been written in 2013, and it was written for the website of an educational training organization, which advises the government on educational practices and so its is likely to be credible in its discussion on how digital citizenship is taught in schools.

Additionally the coordinator of the article series Derek Wenmoth ( has two diplomas in teaching (so he has appropriate qualifications), and is viewed as a expert on educational policy shown through the fact he has consulted for the government (“Derek Wenmoth » CORE Education,” n.d.).

In 2008 (before this article was written) he was awarded as one of the Global Six which is 6 educators globally recognized as innovative by the George Lucas Educational Foundation (“Derek Wenmoth » CORE Education,” n.d.).

So he has qualification, experience and is considered an expert in the use of technology in education and so I believe as he coordinated the writing of this article it is likely to be credible.

2. Digital Citizenship: The Internet, society and Participation (MIT Press) – Book


Search terms: “What is digital citizenship?”

How you found it:  I use Google Scholar search and it was on the first page of results

Who wrote/created it?:  Karen Mossberger (Associate Professor in Public Administration at the University of Illinois) , Caroline J. Tolbert (Associate professor at University of Iowa in the Political Science department) and Ramona S. McNeal (Visiting Assistant Professor at University of Illinois in the Political Science department) (“Digital Citizenship | The MIT Press,” n.d.)

When was it written/created/recorded/published?: October 2007

What kind of publication is it: It is a book produced by MIT press.

How credible(believable) do you think it is: I believe this is not a particularly credible and valid source because it is dated to 2007. Since then the internet and the use of technology has affected our lives significantly more, especially the proliferation of  social media.

However the authors and publisher of this source is credible because all the authors are associate professors in this field, and it is produced by a respected tertiary institution organization MIT Press.

Therefore although the authors and publication organization are credible, the age of this source makes it no longer credible.

3. Digital Citizenship – Wikipedia article


Search terms: “Digital citizenship” in Google search

How you found it: I found it by Google searching and it was near the bottom of the first page of results.

Who wrote/created it?: Being a Wikipedia article it can be edited by anyone.

When was it written/created/recorded/published? It was originally written in December 2008 and was most recently edited on the 4th of April.

What kind of publication is it: A Wikipedia article

How credible(believable) do you think it is: Although more up to date than the second source, this is not a credible source because it can be modified by anyone, including people who do not necessarily have any knowledge of the concept of digital citizenship.

When people write incorrect information on Wikipedia it may be quite some time before it is corrected (if at all). So I do not view this to be a credible source.

Virtualization technology

  1. Virtualization vs Cloud Computing article in  Business News Daily


Search terms: “Virtualization technology”

How you found it: Google search

Who wrote/created it?: Sara Angeles who writes about technology for Business News Daily. She has written tech blogs for IT companies such as (app development company) and Izea ( a content marketing company) (Angeles, n.d.).

When was it written/created/recorded/published? 20 Jan 2014

What kind of publication is it: An article for the Business News Daily is a business advise publication.

How credible(believable) do you think it is: I think this article is relatively credible, because it’s in a business publication and so an editor would have checked it before it was published. As opposed to a blog post where no-one else needs to check it before it is published.

The author of the article used several quotes from people working in high power positions in large IT companies: VMware, InfraNet, Weidenhammer. This adds to the credibility of the article because it shows the author has done her research. Additionally she included links for readers to learn more about cloud computing which the article was comparing to Virtualization.

The article is dated 2014 which is recent enough to make the concepts it discusses still relevant today.

The article is written with few statistics or quantifiable facts this is likely because it is a high level scoped article discussing the general technologies of virtualization and cloud computing and when they can be helpful, rather than specific details.

So overall due to where it is written,  the use of quotes from industry experts, and its date of publication I believe this is relatively credible in what it talks about for a business audience, but it would not be useful if it was being read by technical audience because they would want to know more specifics and perhaps see some quantifiable facts.

2. Introduction to Virtualization – Eli the Computer Guy  YouTube video


Search terms: I used the search terms “What is virtualization” on YouTube

How you found it: YouTube

Who wrote/created it?: Eli Etherton (known as Eli the Computer Guy on his Youtube channel and website). He has an IT background and works as a consultant, in addition to having a highly successful YouTube channel providing instructional tech videos.

In terms of popularity Etherton’s videos are  “now among the top 1 percent of people listed in the Google preferred lineup of technology-focused YouTube channels”(“Eli the Computer Guy’s videos among top 1% of tech-focused YouTube channels – Baltimore,” 2014)

When was it written/created/recorded/published?  3 Feb 2012

What kind of publication is it: YouTube video

How credible(believable) do you think it is: I believe that this is a credible source because Etherton has a technology background and works as an IT consultant this means he will have to know his subject well. By taking the skills he has gained through this work experience to YouTube he is providing technology videos which are highly likely to be valid and credible.

Additionally if his facts were consistently incorrect it is unlikely he would have one of the most successful tech channels on YouTube.

3. System Virtualization tools for Software Development – Peer reviewed journal article


Search terms: “Virtualization technology”

How you found it: ProQuest research database

Who wrote/created it?
Juan C. Duenas, Jose L. Ruiz, Felix Cuadrado, Boni Garcia, Hugo A Parada G

When was it written/created/recorded/published? September 2009

What kind of publication is it: Article in the IEEE Computer Society periodical journal

How credible(believable) do you think it is: Apart from the age of this source it is very credible because it is written in a peer reviewed scholarly journal. The journal article  will of had to have been read and approved by 2 or more other people with knowledge of virtualization before it was permitted to be published.

Having been peer reviewed this means any incorrect informationin the article will of been highly likely to have been identified before publication. Therefore I would say  when this article was first published it would have been one of the highest levels of credibility available however due to its age it is no longer as credible now.


Eli the Computer Guy’s videos among top 1% of tech-focused YouTube channels – Baltimore. (2014, May 5). Retrieved April 6, 2017, from

Digital Citizenship | The MIT Press. (n.d.). Retrieved April 7, 2017, from

Home » CORE Education. (n.d.). Retrieved April 7, 2017, from

Derek Wenmoth » CORE Education. (n.d.). Retrieved April 7, 2017, from

Angeles, S. (n.d.). Sara Angeles | LinkedIn. Retrieved April 7, 2017, from


What is ontology and epistemology?

In preparation for next weeks lesson I am going to investigate what I think epistemology and ontology are, their history and how they relate to research.

  1. What is ontology? How is it relevant to research

What is ontology?

The word ontology derives from the Greek words ‘onto’ which is existence/being and ‘ology’ which is study. Ontology “is the study or concern about what kinds of things exist – what entities there are in the universe” (Rouse, n.d.)

Ontology does not just investigate whether things exist, but it also questions how those existing entities relate and if they can be grouped together into logical categories. This is all very abstract so here’s an example: A thought; this is a mental process, but can it be considered as a existent entity? i.e. does a thought exist?

Well there are two sides to this argument: According to Plato’s teachings a thought would be considered an existent entity because it is a noun. This type of ontological justification is known as Platonic Realism

Whereas other ontological thinkers (known as nominalists) did not believe all nouns are existent entities, and so they would probably say a thought is not an existent entity.

It is thought that the first ontological thinker was Parmenides, a philosopher from Magna Graecia (Southern Italy) who lived around 500BC.


(“Parmenides – Wikipedia,” 2017)

In ontology there are two sub-domains:

  • Ontological materialism: This is the belief that physical forces and objects are more real than a non-observable entity like the human mind. In other words, even if there is no human to observe them physical forces like sunlight exist.
  • Ontological idealism: This is the belief that non-observable entities like the human mind are more real than physical forces and objects. In other words reality is based in peoples minds.


Having a science based background here is a example of how ontology can be applied that makes sense to me.

Every organism in the world has a phenotype and a genotype. Simply put phenotype’s are observable characteristics in an organism, that might be fur colour, or body size. Whereas a genotype is the genetic material that actually controls the phenotype.

Is a phenotype more real than a genotype? Well until the last few years genotypes could not actually be observed and so the answer would have been yes. However now with technological advances allowing humans to decode the organisms genomes (the human genome was first decoded in 2001) we can see both the genotype and phenotype.


(“Predicting and Calculating Phenotype & Genotype Ratios/Probabilities – http://www.geneticsmadeeasy,” n.d.)

So this is an interesting example how technical advances change ontological thought. Another application of ontology to this example is that once both genotypes and phenotypes are classed as real the relationship between the two will need to be determined. Well this is fairly easy because the genotype determines the expressed phenotype.

Another way I like to to look at ontology, using an IT perspective is that ontology is similar to the process you go through when designing a relational database:

    1. You look at the problem domain to determine the entities that exist which will eventually have their own table, and you justify why you believe these entities exist in the problem domain

You look at the relationship between the entities which will become the relationship between the tables

In in summing up, ontology investigates the level of reality that something has, and how it relates to other entities.

How is it relevant to research?

Ontology is the questioning of what exists, and how things that do exist relate to other entities. In research we have to look at data (if performing primary research), or information (if we are performing secondary research) and determine what insights there are in the data and how these insights relate to each other.

i.e. We must see/read in the data/information to see trends/concepts existing in it, and then we must see how the trends/concepts relate to each other.

      2. What is epistemology? How is it relevant to research?

What is epistemology?

This is another philosophical concept from the ancient Greek world. In this case epistemology is again from the Greek language; ‘episteme’ is knowledge whilst ‘ology’ is study. The ancient Greek philosopher Xenophone was one of the first people to have epistemic thoughts.

Epistemology is the study of knowledge, it aims to define what knowledge is, and question if what you have is knowledge based on three criteria (discussed below).

Epistemology states that knowledge is made up of three concepts: belief, truth and justification.

  • Belief – We must believe our knowledge is valid, this concept does not assume that the knowledge is correct but just that we believe it is.
  • Truth – To know something means that it is true, you cannot know something if it is false.
  • Justification – To know something means that you must be able to justify it, whether that is through observable facts or experience.


(“Epistemology – Wikipedia,” 2017)

To ensure that our belief and justification of our knowledge is solidly based we have to align it with the related concept of skepticism. Skepticism is basically the devils advocate making us question our knowledge to make sure we can actually class it as knowledge, i.e. does it meet the three criteria: truth, belief, justification.

In other words I see skepticism as the gate keeper ensuring everything we think of a knowledge is actually valid.


(Jorgustin, 2012)

There are two sub-concepts of skepticism:

  • Academic skepticism – This is the belief that our senses can fool us, and so it considers knowledge of the world is impossible
  • Pyrrhonian skepticism – This encourages people to doubt and question everything

How does epistemology relate to relate to research?

Primary research involves gathering data and refining it to information. Whilst secondary research gathers together information from many credible sources, but the thing they have in common is that the information gathered is analyzed to gain insights; it is these insights which are considered knowledge.

Knowledge that we gain through primary and secondary research must consist of the epistemic components of being  believable, justifiable (this is where critically analyzing the source and comparing opposing arguments is used to determine a justifiable conclusion), and based on the truth.

Whilst skepticism relates to research because it is the way we check that our insights are valid knowledge i.e. we question our insights to make sure they are justifiable, believable, and truthful.

  1. What is the connection between ontology and epistemology in a research context?

Ontology investigates a problem domain (this could be the world or an environment where a new information system is needed) and it identifies entities, defines them, and determines how they inter-relate.

Whereas epistemology ensures our research insights are built on a basis of justification, belief and truth.

So I see the connection between these two philosophical concepts as ontology identifies insights/trends in information as well as the relationship between the insights/trends forming knowledge whilst epistemology is the process of validating the knowledge. For example critically analyzing  the sources to ensure credible sources covering all viewpoints is used in secondary research.

Rouse, M. (n.d.). What is ontology? – Definition from Retrieved March 10, 2017, from

Parmenides – Wikipedia. (2017, January 29). Retrieved March 11, 2017, from

Predicting and Calculating Phenotype & Genotype Ratios/Probabilities – http://www.geneticsmadeeasy. (n.d.). Retrieved March 8, 2017, from–genotype-ratiosprobabilities.html

Epistemology – Wikipedia. (2017, March 7). Retrieved March 11, 2017, from

Jorgustin, K. (2012, April 24). Healthy Skepticism: A Survival Trait. Retrieved March 11, 2017, from