Skip to main content

Diamond Scholars

Evaluative Criteria for Web Content

Accuracy
  • Can you verify the information presented using other sources like encyclopedia articles, government documents, statistical data, or primary sources?
  • Are other researchers citing this source?
Authority
  • Who is responsible for the presentation of this information? (publisher, funding agency, etc.)
  • What are the author's credentials? (education, institutional affiliation, previous research, honors, etc.)
  • What is the domain?
Objectivity
  • Does the author or publisher of the page have a vested interest in the topic?
  • Are the author's sources of information clearly documented and linked?
  • Are both pro and con views of controversial topics given?
Coverage
  • How completely does the site explore the topic? Compare it to other related sites.
  • Does it provide you with a bibliography of printed works or a list of other sites to help you expand your understanding of the topic?
  • If the material is a digitized version of a printed document, is it complete, including images, graphs, tables, etc.?
  • Do the sources come from a variety of journals, books, and other materials, or does the authoe cite the same sources repeatedly?
Currency
  • Does the site tell you when it was first created?
  • If the material is digitized from a printed copy, what edition was used? Is it the most up-to-date available?
  • Does the page clearly indicate when it was last updated?

Evaluating Websites

What about Wikipedia?

"Wikipedia?  It's a great place to start, and a horrible place to end, at least that's what my professor says." PIL Progress Report 2/09

Alternatives to Wikipedia

The Libraries offer large online reference collections that provide general topic overviews, relevant vocabularly, and citations for additional resources.  Below are a few examples.  Find more online reference collections here.