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J. Drake Edens Library: Evaluate a website

J. Drake Edens Library

Evaluating Information from the WWW

It's a wild and woolly Web out there! We recommend that you use this set of questions designed to jumpstart your critical thinking as a guide for evaluating web sources. 

Criteria for evaluating Web sites:

  1. Purpose and Audience - Who is the information designed to reach? Why is it on the Web?
     
  2. Authority - Who is responsible? What are their credentials? Do they provide biography or references? Do they credit other information sources? Is there contact information for the author or producer?
     
  3. Scope - What is the time period covered? Is the coverage general or detailed? Are there relevant and helpful links to other Web sites?
     
  4. Accuracy - Are the facts reliable given what you already know about the subject? Is the information objective or does it have a clearly stated bias? How does it compare to other sources (print and non-print)?
     
  5. Currency - Is there a date of creation on the Web site? How frequently is it updated? Is there obviously out-of-date information? Do the links still work? 
     
  6. Design - Is it easy and quick (less than three clicks) to navigate? Is it easy to locate pertinent information? Is it cluttered? Does it have distracting backgrounds or too many graphics that slow it down? Can you search it? Does it require plug-ins or players?
     
  7. Commercialism - Is it trying to sell something? Are there hidden costs? Do you have to provide personal information? Is the site secure?
     
  8. Evaluation by Others - Is it favorably reviewed by experts?

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