Essay VALID / RELIABLE INFORMATION with the five “Ws” and HOW

                                                              ENGL 0119 & 0219

                                                                    Assignment #4

                                                                     Due: Nov. 10






To build analytical skills to identify valid information

To build analytical skills to evaluate the reliability of information


Identifying valid and reliable information is a useful skill.  As college students approach different texts, they may notice that no text can provide the absolute truth on a subject.  Each author will have a certain frame of reference that he or she bases the information on.


Authors may provide information for the five “Ws” of communication.  These five are Who? What? When? Where? Why?  Finding the answers to these five “W” questions will generally provide a better idea of the context (or meaning) of the article for the reader.  Though How is not a “W” word, authors often include the answer to How in their writings.


In completing this lesson, you will have the opportunity to practice identifying the five “Ws” and to determine whether the author has provided reliable and valid “W” and “How” information that allows you to investigate important characteristics of a source.





Assignment  for Valid, Reliable Information


Article Analysis


  1. Locate on the Internet the article “Which is Healthier: A Hotdog or Hamburger?”
  2. Look at and study this MLA citation for this Samantha Cassetty article as you will need to create an MLA citation on your own in Part Two of this lesson:

Cassetty, Samantha. “Which is Healthier: A Hot Dog or Hamburger?” NBC News: Better, 10 April 2018.  Accessed 28 May 2018.

  1. Create your Word document page for this lesson.
  2. While reading the article, locate the information that answers the five “Ws.”

Copy or create the chart below on your own Word document and answer its questions in the second cell of each line.  The cells will expand automatically if you begin a second line.




  1. Does the article, also, tell How? If so, briefly explain the How.
  2. What source(s) does the author refer to either as a quote, paraphrase, or summary?
  3. q/p/s




  1. Identify one particular quote, summary, or idea that you trust (if you do trust any of this borrowed information) and explain why you trust it? If you do not see any borrowed information in the article that you think is reliable, why do you think the author chose to use information that cannot be trusted?




Individual Research Analysis


  1. Review information in the article that helps determine its reliability and answer each of the following questions.
    1. Who is the author and/or sponsoring organization for the article?

Remember, anonymity destroys credibility.


  1. When was the article first published and when, if ever, was it updated?

Good research requires up-to-date information. The importance of dates will depend on the topic—the more relevant/current, the more important up-to-date information is.


  1. What does the article look like? (appearance)

You can often judge a site by its appearance:

grammatical correctness, general layout, use of sources.


  1. What do other people say about it? (reputation)
    1. Has it received good reviews?
    2. Has it been recommended by a reliable source?
  • Are a lot of negative comments under the story?



  1. Question the author’s points. What information could you possibly oppose as not being

valid?  (Determining this information may be challenging, but play devil’s advocate.)

  1. What strategy will you use in the future to make sure the information you read is reliable?



















 Which is healthier: A hot dog or hamburger?

Neither one is going to hit it out of the nutritional ballpark, but one of these barbecue favorites comes out on top.



Both red and processed meats have been linked to diabetes and heart disease.Getty Images


April 10, 2018, 2:31 PM CDT / Updated May 27, 2018, 8:38 AM CDT

By Samantha Cassetty, RD

Baseball season has officially begun and if barbecue season hasn’t kicked off in your region, it will soon enough. As you scan the stadium menu or what’s sizzling on the grill, you may be wondering which of these all-American foods — a hot dog or hamburger — is the healthier option.

The quick answer is that neither one of these picks is going to hit it out of the ballpark, nutritionally speaking. But, then again, few of us head to the ballpark or to a barbecue to eat a salad, so let’s take a look at how both stack up.


A typical frank is about 150 calories. Add the bun and some standard toppings (let’s say, ketchup, mustard and relish, though I know much could be said about hot dog toppings), and all in, you’re in the 300- to 350-calorie range. This is pretty tame as far as barbecue and stadium food goes.

Processed meats are one of the very few foods that have been definitively linked to cancer.

The thing is, hot dogs are highly processed and contain lots of sodium as well as nitrates, which are chemical compounds that are used to preserve processed and smoked meats. Though nutrition and medical experts may dispute the healthfulness of certain foods or nutrients, processed meats are one of the very few foods that have been definitively linked to cancer. The International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies processed meat, like hot dogs, bacon, jerky and some deli meats, as a carcinogen — meaning, they cause cancer. To repeat: They cause cancer; not might, or may, possibly, or any other qualifier.

Make no mistake: Even gourmet or organic versions carry the same risk. Un-cured or nitrate-free versions have natural sources of these preservatives (such as celery juice), that ultimately get converted to worrisome compounds once you eat them.

On the bright side, if you’re eating hot dogs from time-to-time, I wouldn’t worry excessively about this. Overall, it’s a good idea to limit processed meats, but a hot dog every now and then — especially in the context of an otherwise healthy diet (meaning, lots of veggies, fruits and other plant foods) — isn’t going to do you in.


A 4-ounce burger (which, let’s face it, isn’t that big) made from the typical 85-percent lean ground beef creeps close to 300 calories without the bun and toppings. Add the bun and a slab of cheese and you’re nearing the 500-calorie mark (and I’m being conservative here).

There’s also the pesky issue of red meat. The same agency report, which involved 22 experts from 10 countries who reviewed more than 800 studies, suggests that red meat is a probable carcinogen. Not quite as bad, but not so good, either. And if cancer doesn’t concern you, both red and processed meats have also been linked to diabetes and heart disease.

But enough bad news. A single hamburger once in a while isn’t going to wreck an overall healthy diet, just as a single hot dog won’t. (Hopefully you knew I’d get here!) The idea is to keep tabs on your overall processed and red meat intake, while also making sure to get enough vegetables, fruits and other plant-based, wholesome foods, such as whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds.


From a calorie standpoint, the hot dog is the winner, but from an overall perspective, the hamburger is a better option. The 4-ounce hamburger has about six times the amount of protein as a hot dog, but about a quarter of the sodium. Nutritionally, that’s a better bargain. And the protein will help tame hunger — good news considering all of the other food choices that are probably staring you in the face when hot dogs and hamburgers are being served.

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