Evaluating Websites


Websites can be created by anyone and may or may not be edited.  There are great websites that have high quality information, and there are websites that are meant to be opinions or to present someone's interest.  Because there is such a variety of quality and types of websites, evaluating all websites you use is important.  

Websites Can Be Good Sources:

Websites Can Be Questionable Sources:

Evaluation Criteria

Some commonly accepted criteria used to evaluate sources include:

  • Accuracy: "does the site misstate or misrepresent facts? does the site contain errors?  Can you find information to support their information on other reputable sites?
  • Authority: who created the site and what are their affiliations and credentials?  Are they experts in the area covered by the site?
  • Bias: does the site offer a point of view or opinion without attempting to acknowledge other views?
  • Coverage: how much information is provided?  Is there adequate information for claims made?
  • Currency: when was the site last updated? how new is the information?  Are you looking at a dated document or article?

Evaluate sites guided by the criteria above. Do not use sites that fail your evaluation.  There are plenty of other good sites you can use.  

Website Domains

Domains do not guarantee the quality or integrity of a site. For example, the personal page of a professor or college student could be in the .edu domain, but that relationship does not validate what the person says. Sometimes, such sites have a tilde ~ in their address. These web site domains are restricted; only certain organizations can use them: .aero, .coop, .edu, .gov, .int, .mil, & .museum These web site domains are unrestricted; anyone can use them: .com, .info, .name, .net, .org, & .pro  

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