Evaluating Websites

Published on: Author: Teresa L

With the BILLIONS of webpages available on the Internet these days, how can students evaluate which are reputable and which probably shouldn’t be used for research? Ask yourself these questions:
Authority — Who is the person or entity entering the content of the webpage? Does the person or organization have relevant credentials ?
Objectivity — Is the person or organization biased? Can you filter the information? There is a difference between knowing that the author of the website favors an expansive view of the Second Amendment, and knowing that the author of the website denies that the Holocaust happened?
Scope and Coverage — Does the author properly cite information? Are web links evaluated? Did the author cite the source?
Accuracy and Reliability — Is this entity responsible for the information a reliable source? Is it a university? The government? Is there contact information for the author?
Currency — When was the last time the webpage was updated? Are the web links on the page still valid?
Let common sense be your guide. Ask yourself, do you want to rely on information from this web site? Would you put much faith, for example, in legal advice from this site?