Library Research Skills
Evaluating web based information
Because anyone with a little computer knowledge and access to a server can create a Web page, it's more important than ever to evaluate Web sites, especially if you want to incorporate information from a Web site into a paper or some other type of scholarly work. The quality of your work depends on the quality of information you use.
Evaluate Web sites by asking yourself the following questions:
- Who is the author? Are his or her credentials stated? How knowledgeable is he or she?
- Who is the sponsor of the site? Is there an organization affiliated with the site or its author? Can you find out more about their purposes and intent? [Hints: examine the URL - is it .org? .com? .edu?; go up a few levels to learn more about the host organization.]
- What is the scope of this resource?
- Is the material free of error (typos, spelling, grammar, etc.)?
- Are the sources for factual information in the material clearly identified? Can you verify them?
- Is any bias present?
- To what extent is the material meant to persuade? Is this clearly stated?
- Is the page an advertisement or some other kind of promotional material?
- Would any surrounding advertising influence the material's contents or results? Is the advertising clearly separate from the resource contents?
- Who is the intended audience?
- When was the site last updated?
- Does it rely on the most current available information? If not, is the reason clearly stated and justified?
Is a searchable, annotated subject directory of more than 10,000 Internet sites Sites are selected and evaluated by librarians for their usefulness to users of public libraries.
Visit this site when looking for more information aimed at general audience.
- Checklist for evaluating Web pages (Word Document, 152 kbs)
Checklist for Evaluating Web Pages
Name of Page:
URL of Page:
Date & Time Page Was Accessed:
The author is listed on the page or a connecting page.
The author's credentials are stated.
The author appears to be knowledgeable and has good credentials.
The sponsor of the site is listed.
There's an organization affiliated with the site or author.
You can find out about the purpose or intent of the organization.
The scope of this resource is appropriate for my needs.
There are typographic, spelling, or grammatical errors in text.
The page clearly identifies the sources of its information.
You can verify the sources of the information.
This appears to be a biased site.
This site is meant to persuade the reader.
This page is an advertisement or promotional material.
The advertising might influence the way the content is read.
The advertising is clearly separated from the contents of the page.
Is it important for the information on this page to be current?
When was the site last updated?