How do I evaluate a website?

The Internet can be a great tool for doing research, but it is necessary to evaluate websites to ensure their quality and accuracy. Below are some aspects to consider.

Key Areas to Review

ACCURACY

  • Is the information reliable and correct?
  • Is there an editor who verifies the information?

Anyone can publish anything on the web, and there are no web standards for accuracy.

AUTHORITY

  • Is there an author? What are his or her qualifications?
  • What is the sponsoring organization? Is it reputable?
  • Is the domain appropriate for the search (.edu, .com, .gov, .org, .net, etc.)?

Look for links providing information about the author and his or her e-mail address.

Check for "about us," "philosophy," etc. for information about the organization.

OBJECTIVITY

  • Does the website show a minimum of bias?
  • Is there advertising on the page?
  • What is the purpose of the site? To sell, to inform, to persuade?

CURRENCY

  • Does the site include the dates it was created and updated?
  • How current are the links? Have any expired or moved?

Consider if currency is especially important for the research topic.

COVERAGE

  • How does the site compare with other sites on this topic?
  • Is material covered in depth rather than superficially?
  • Is there a balance of text and images?
  • Is the site readily viewable, not needing special software or requiring a fee?

The site should contribute something unique to the subject.

Additional Resources

Evaluating Web Pages: Techniques to Apply & Questions to Ask

http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/TeachingLib/Guides/Internet/Evaluate.html

Video: Evaluating Web Sites

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_qR5lpnXBE&list=UUAwMoXUkSxTb9LIGdUrytQQ&index=7