Evaluating Web Sites
The number and variety of resources on the Internet is phenomenal. Companies, organizations, educational institutions and individual people add information daily. However, not everything available on the Internet is acceptable to use for academic research projects.
Did you know that?
- Almost anyone can and does publish anything on the World Wide Web.
- Web sources often are not verified by editors or fact checkers as is done before print publication.
- Web standards of quality are not fully developed.
Before you use a Web site for a research project, make sure that it passes your evaluation according to the following criteria: Authority, Purpose, Currency, Accuracy, and Ease of Use.
- Who is the author of the Web site (a person, an organization, or a company)?
- Is the author an expert on the topic? To what extent does the author's occupation, years of experience, position, or education make him/her an expert?
- What do you know about the provider or sponsor (e.g. company, professional association) of the Web site? Is this information easy to find on the Web site?
- Does the Web site sell, inform, or try to persuade you of a certain point of view?
- Is it a commercial, governmental, or educational institution Web site? Look at the URL or Web site address for .com (commercial), .gov (governmental), .edu (educational), .org (organization).
- Is the date of the last revision to the Web site indicated?
- Are you able to find the exact date of the content you plan to use?
- Are the links to other sites up-to-date?
- Is the information based on facts or opinions?
- Does the author provide any supportive evidence for his/her statements?
- Are the sources listed for any information presented as fact so that they can be looked for to verify the facts?
Ease of Use
- Is the Web site well organized? Can you easily find what you're looking for?
- Does the site provide a way to search all the pages for a particular topic?
- Does the site offer anything unique?
- Are the graphics clear and helpful?