Evaluating Websites

Let's face it--there is a lot of information available on the Internet! How do you determine if it's GOOD information, especially if you want to use it for research?

Things to Consider...

Authority:

Who wrote this information, and why?
What credentials or expertise does the author have in the subject area?
Is the information fact-based, or opinion-based?
Who owns or is sponsoring the website?

Purpose:

Who is the intended audience? Is it for scholars, the community, or private groups?
Does the site include a mission statement?
What is the purpose of the site? Is it to inform, instruct, persuade, or to sell?

Objectivity:

Is the information biased? If so, does the author acknowledge these biases?
Does the author present alternative points of view?
Does the website sponsor have any vested interests that could cause bias?

Accuracy:

Is the information contained in this site correct?
How accurate is other information within the site?

Credibility:

Where does the information come from?
Does the author provide references or a bibliography?
If references are listed, are they from primary or secondary sources? Are the references themselves trustworthy?
Do the links to reference work, or are they broken?

Timeliness:

When was the site last updated?
Have there been any new developments or changes in that subject since it was created? Is it outdated?
How current are the sources listed as references?

Relevance:

How will using this source contribute to your research?
Is this type of resource permitted by your professor?

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