I can evaluate a source for its credibility based on my
specific research task.
I can choose web sources that are appropriate to my
Research: “a detailed study of a subject, especially in order
to discover information or reach a new understanding.”
Source Credibility: ”the degree to which people believe and
trust what other people and organizations tell them about a
particular product or service”
Validity: “able to be accepted”
Cambridge Dictionaries Online. Retrieved from
Who is the author/creator/sponsor? Are author's credentials
Does the author have a reputation?
Has the author published works in traditional formats?
Is the author/webpage affiliated with an organization?
What does the domain name/URL reveal about the source of the
information, if anything? Example: .com .edu .gov .org .net
Are possible biases clearly stated?
Is advertising content vs. informational content easily
Are editorials clearly labeled?
Is the purpose to: inform? teach? entertain? enlighten?
If relevant, when was the information gathered?
When was it posted?
When was it last revised?
Are links functional and up-to-date?
Is there evidence of newly added information or links?
Where does the author get his/her information?
Is there a bibliography?
Where can I find the author’s sources?
Why is this information relevant for my research task?
What is the depth and breadth of the information
Could you find the same or better information in another
Does the site provide the information you need?
Your overall assessment is important. Would you be
comfortable using this source for a research paper?
• Web address contains words unrelated to what you are studying
• The site is an “answer engine” (i.e. Yahoo answers, Ask.com, etc.). If is it,
change your search term so that it is not a question.
• Your source is a blog.
• Contains inflammatory language or absolutes.
• Has not been updated in six months.
• Contains spelling or grammatical errors.
• Has ads, popups, subscriptions, or charges you for information.
• Is on Wikipedia. Wikipedia is a great place to start; use the sources at the
bottom of the page for more information.