Evaluate Websites

Here are some factors to consider when determining whether a website contains reliable information:

Authority

  • Who is responsible for the webpage?
  • What authority or expertise does the author have?
  • Can you contact the author of the page? 
  • What institution published the page?
  • What is the domain of the page? .gov and .edu pages are generally more authoritative than .com or .net pages 

Currency

  • When was the page created?
  • When was the page last updated?
  • Is the information on the page current?
  • Do all of the links work?
  • Do the links lead to current and relevant information? 

Motive

  • What are the goals and objectives of the page?
  • Is the page trying to get you to buy something?
  • Does the author express an opinion or try to convince you of something?
  • Is someone making a profit off the page?
  • Is the page supported by advertising?
  • Who sponsored the page and why? 

Research

  • Is the webpage supported by documentation, graphs, footnotes, etc.?
  • Is information cited correctly?
  • Are there links to other resources? If so, are those resources reliable?
  • Is the information scholarly in nature? 

Design

  • Is the webpage well organized and easy to navigate?
  • Is special software required to view the information?
  • Does the page include help or search sections?

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