Internet resources are vast, but often are not reviewed thoroughly.
As a result, many contain unreliable information. Before using Internet
resources, evaluate them using criteria like those listed below, which
are grouped in six categories.
Each category offers a series of evaluative questions and gives
suggested ways to find answers to the questions. Links to more
criteria are provided after the last category.
What is the resource's purpose? Is the purpose stated
Does the resource try to persuade, inform, or sell
something? How so?
Is the site a primary or secondary source?
Who is its intended audience? How might this influence its content?
Is advertising included (pop-up ads, banners, inserts,
etc.)? Might it impact the content or indicate the resource's
||Checking purpose and audience:
-- Read the purpose/mission statement for the resource, if
-- Check the home page for the resource.
-- Read the article submission guidelines, if present.
-- Notice the tone and terminology used in the resource.
-- Note the presence/absence and types of advertising and announcements.
-- Examine the types of information, evidence, and examples used.
-- Search the Internet for reviews of the resource.
-- Check the domain: non-profit organization (org), commercial site
(com), US higher education site (edu), and so on.
Who is the author or sponsor of the web resource?
the author have adequate qualifications/expertise?
Where is the resource located (i.e. in a larger site, an e-journal,
and so on)?
Is the work cited in other works or linked to by other
Are the author's qualifications given? Where is the author employed?
Who is the sponsoring agency, organization, or institution
for the resource?
What are the agency's/organization's credentials and reputation?
Has the author or agency/organization created other web resources?
shown in the URL. For example, gov in whitehouse.gov indicates
a federal government
the author's authority:
-- Use biographical dictionaries and critical essays to investigate the author.
-- Search appropriate databases & the Internet for citations
to the resource.
-- Read articles that cite/critique the resource (and other
works by the author).
-- Find out if the author has written other articles, reports, etc. on the topic.
-- Check the online home page for the resource or its sponsoring
web site can help you identify the sponsor of a site.
ACCURACY & RELIABILITY
Is a bibliography or reference list available so information can be verified?
Does the web resource offer trustworthy information?
Is the information protected by copyright? Who is the copyright holder?
Does the resource indicate editorial quality (free of
Can the people/agencies listed as authors/sponsors be verified
Is contact information given? (email & physical addresses,
phone numbers, etc.)
accuracy and reliability:
-- Examine the text for evidence of careful research.
-- Check if data, statistics, and facts are documented (and current).
-- Double-check information in the resource with other sources.
-- Read critiques and analyses in reputable sources.
-- Determine if the resource is peer-reviewed, editor-reviewed,
-- Examine the quality of items listed in the bibliography, if one is present.
-- Check the sponsor/site type: academic, commercial, personal,
Is the information biased or balanced, subjective or objective?
Is the text mostly fact or opinion? Is that appropriate?
Does the text acknowledge the above?
Does the author use logical or emotional appeal?
-- Examine the writer's claims. Are they logical and reasonable?
-- Examine the evidence presented. Is it adequate and credible?
-- Read critical essays about and responses to the resource.
-- Notice the presence/absence and types of advertising.
Was the web resource previously published elsewhere?
was the web resource first produced? Is that important?
When was it put online? Is that important?
When was it last updated? Is that important?
Is the information current? Should it be?
Are current research findings and/or theories evident? Should they be?
Do links work? Do they lead to quality resources? Are they up-to-date?
||Checking work's currency:
-- Check dates on references, if any are given.
-- Check dates given for any data presented in the text.
-- Compare the information with that presented in other sources.
-- Check the publishing history (date on the resource, notes
about previous publishing, links on other sites, update information,
Does the web resource adequately cover its topic?
Does it claim to present results of research and/or scholarly projects?
Can claims of scholarship be confirmed?
Does it include information from various resource types (print & online)?
Does the resource present original ideas or rehash those
Are significant aspects of the topic omitted?
Are omissions acknowledged and explained?
Do links go to other pages in the same site, to other
sites, or both?
Do research results and documentation style adhere
to practices normally
used in that discipline?
-- Examine the introductory paragraphs and editor's notes about the article.
-- Analyze the breadth of content. Does it meet expectations?
-- Read articles/other resources that discuss/analyze the
resource in question.
-- Compare the resource with similar works.
-- Follow links and evaluate linked resources.
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