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History and Significance of Race in America: AAAS 0829 / HIS 0829 / SOC 0829 / Pol Sci 0829

Criteria for Evaluating Websites

Evaluating a web site differs little from evaluating a book or a journal article; many of the same criteria are used to evaluate all three formats. But the ease with which information can be made available to literally million  and millions of people on the Internet, is so much greater than that needed to get a book or article published, that the need to evauluate web pages has an urgency not demanded by the other formats, 

There are six things to consider when evaluating websites:

1. Authority

Who is the author of the webpage?

Is the author clearly identified?

What are the credentials of the author?

2. Purpose

Are the purpose and objectives of the webpage clearly stated?

What is the primary purpose?  To provide information? To sell a product? To make a political point? To have fun?

3. Accuracy

Are there footnotes, bibliographies or other credible sources on the web site which verify the information on the web site?

Based on what you already know about the topic, does the information on the web site seem credible?

4. Timeliness

When was the website last updated?

Are links to other web sites current and working?

5. Integrity of information

Are the sources of any facts clearly identified?

6. Viewpoint

How objective is the web site?

Does the web site display a particular bias or perspective?

Does it contain inflammatory or provocative language?

If the site contains advertising, is there a clear distinction between content and ad?

Is there a conflict of interest between content and advertising?

What is the URL extention? ORG?, GOV? COM? EDU?

Hammett, Paula. Jan 1997 "Teaching tools for evaluating world wide web resources," Teaching Sociology 27 (1), 31-37.

Additional Sources for Evaluating Websites

Evaluating Web Sites: A Checklist (University of Maryland Libraries)

How Do I Evaluate Websites? (Community College of Rhode Island)

Checklist for Evaluating Web Resources (University of Southern Maine Libraries)