Criteria to use in evaluation

Authority: can I trust this person or group?

  • Scan the perimeter of the page. Is there an author? Is the page signed?
  • Does the URL give me a clue about authorship? Domain helpful?
  • Is the author reputable and qualified? An expert? Is his/her education specified?
  • Who is the sponsor? Is the sponsor reputable?
  • Is there a link to information about the author or sponsor? Look for words “About Us” or “Philosophy” or “Who am I” A way to contact him/her?
  • If the page includes neither a signature nor indicates a sponsor, is there any other way to determine its origin? Yes, there is…what is it?

Accuracy and objectivity: Will I get the whole truth?

  • Is the information reliable and error-free?
  • Is there an editor or someone who verifies/checks the information?
  • Does the information show a minimum of bias?
  • Is the page designed to sway opinion?
  • Is there any advertising on the page that might lead you to think the author has “sold out”?
  • Does the information sound reasonable and fair?

Currency: Is the information I need correct today?

  • Is the page dated?
  • If so, when was the last update?
  • How current are the links? Have many expired or moved? (404 Error)
  • Is the information supplied outdated for my needs today?
  • Webster’s Dictionary

Coverage: Is there enough here to make this site worth my while?

  • What topics are covered?
  • What does this page offer that is not found elsewhere?
  • What is its value?
  • How in-depth is the material?

Indicators of Quality

  • Footnotes and/or a bibliography
  • Links to additional sites or information
  • Correct spelling and grammar. Are there many grammatical mistakes or misspelled words (if the author’s not careful in this arena, we might wonder how careful he/she is in providing accurate information)

Citing Internet pages and Articles from and Databases