Why was the website created?
.edu and .gov sites are reliable
.com generally exist to sell you something
.org sites are okay as long as the purpose is not to
convince that an opinion is fact
Who is the intended audience?
Is there a lot of advertising on the page = Be critical!
Is the author’s name easy to find?
Is the author an expert on the topic?
Is an About Us page included?
Does the website have a contact page?
.gov, .edu, or .org site?
Are sources cited?
Let’s Look at an Example…
Why was the webpage created?
Fact or an opinion?
Look out for bias
Bias = an opinion formed without evidence,
facts, or knowledge.
When was the webpage written?
When was the page last updated?
Medical and technology- dates are important
Literature and history topics- dates are less important
Is there enough information for
Is the information provided
appropriate for college research?
Can the same information be found
from a more credible source?
(book, encyclopedia, or journal article)
How is the information arranged?
Is it well organized?
Is the webpage free of
A reliable website has:
Purpose. If your page was created to educate or help others and…
Authority. If your page lists the author credentials and its domain is preferred
(.edu, .gov, .org, or .net) and…
Objectivity. If your page provides accurate information with limited
advertising and it is objective in presenting the information, and . . .
Currency. If your page is current and updated regularly (as stated on the page)
and the links (if any) are also up-to-date, and . . .
Coverage. If your page has enough information to suit your purpose, and …
Design If the information is well organized and free of errors then . . .
IT HAS CREDIBILITY = A RELIABLE SOURCE OF INFORMATION!
To search within a specific top-level
website domain like .org, .edu, .gov,
type your topic/search term and then
add “site:.gov” or “site:.edu” after your topic.
Examples: global warming site:.gov
dietary supplements site:.edu
Kapoun, Jim. "Teaching undergrads WEB evaluation: A
guide for library instruction." C&RL News
(July/August 1998): 522-523.