Evaluating Websites

Criteria for Evaluating Web Documents

Authority
  • Who is responsible for the intellectual content of the web page? (i.e. is an author provided)
  • Does the author provide contact information? (e.g. email address)
  • What are the author's credentials?
  • Where is the document published? (check URL)
  • Is the web site sponsored by an Institution?

Accuracy
  • What are the author's research methods?
  • Does the author provide supportive evidence? (e.g. cite other research)
  • Have other scholars cited the author's work?
  • Check for proper grammar and spelling

Audience/Agenda
  • Why was the text written and for whom?
  • What are the goals & objectives of the author?
  • Is the purpose of the web site to inform, explain, advertise or persuade?
  • Is the information biased?

Currency
  • Is the information in the document outdated?
  • When was the document produced?
  • When was it last updated?
  • Are the links alive or dead?

**The above criteria apply not only to web sites but to print materials as well!


Consider the Source! Question Authority!

Evaluate these sites based on the selected criteria:
Authority Feline Reactions to Bearded Men

The Genomic Genie and Its Promise to Both Science and Society

Accuracy

DHMO Home Page

Use of Psychoactive Medication During Pregnancy and Possible Effects on the Fetus and Newborn (RE9866)

Audience/Agenda

BASINS Helps Solve the Watershed Puzzle

The Safety of Legal Abortion and the Hazards of Illegal Abortion

Currency

Organic Consumers Organization


Now compare sites on the same topic:

Research Fundamentals