Criteria for Evaluating Websites as Sources
Anyone can publish anything on the Internet. Therefore, it is important to evaluate the credibility of a website prior to using it as a source in your research!
Look for the following:
Can you tell who the website author is? It is important to know who is responsible for the information on a site and what credentials or expertise they have. The website author should also provide an email.
It is essential to use accurate information in research. How do you determine that?
- Is the author writing for a well-known, respected organization?
- Does the author cite sources? You should be able to check primary sources to determine accuracy.
- Is the information on a personal blog or wiki? Anyone can easily post to these types of sites and the information on them may not be accurate.
Beware of sites that contain strong bias or points of view. Are different points of view visible on a website? One should be able to determine whether or not the author or organization is trying to sell something or persuade readers to accept a particular belief.
The objective of a website should be obvious so the reader knows what type of information he/she will find. Think about whether or not the website is providing the type of information promised.
How current is the information on the website? The date of the most recent changes should be posted. Depending on the topic, if the most recent revision was over a year ago, you may reconsider using the information.
Web Site Evaluation Checklist