These are five criteria to consider when evaluating a website. Accuracy, Authority, Objectivity, Currency and Coverage. Depending on the data, all 5 criteria may not be needed. These are just some general guidelines to be aware of and to consider.
AccuracyIf possible, get the author’s e-mail or a contact information.
Know the distinction between author and WebmasterThe author is the person who provides the content of the information. They can be a person, an institution or organization.The webmaster is responsible for designing the website, generating and revising web pages. In essence making sure the site runs correctly.What credentials are listed for the author?
Where is the document published? Check URL domain. Web sites are created for many purposes: To entertain, to market a product, to educate, or to try to convince you of something. See if you can tell if the site was created for an informational, commercial, personal, entertainment, educational, governmental, or advocacy purpose. Looking at the URL might give you some clues. For example, URLs with the following domain names will belong to different types of organizations:
Determine if page is a mask for advertising; if so information might be biased. View any Web page as you would an infomercial on television. Ask yourself why was this written and for whom?
Consider if the links and information was updated and if it important to the data. Depending on the nature of the data , updated data results should be consistent with the original findings.How many dead links are on the page? Are the links current or updated regularly? Is the information on the page outdated?
Are the links relevant?How does the page look in generalWhere did the author get his or her information?
Things to Consider …
Accuracy of Web Documents
Who wrote the page and can you contact
Authority of Web Documents
•Who published the document and is it separate
from the "Webmaster?"
•What are the Authors’ credentials?
Authority of Web Documents
Check the domain of the document.
What institution publishes this document?
.com = a commercial organization Ex: www.sony.com
.edu = an educational institution Ex: www.gmu.edu
.gov = a government organization Ex: www.whitehouse.gov
.mil = a military organization Ex: www.navy.mil
.org = a non-profit organization Ex: www.redcross.org
Objectivity of Web Documents
What goals/objectives does this page meet?
How detailed is the information?
What opinions (if any) are expressed by the
Currency of Web Documents
When was it produced?
When was it updated?
How up-to-date are the links (if any)?
Coverage of the Web Documents
Are the links (if any) evaluated and do they
complement the document’s theme?
Is the webpage all images or a balance of text
Does the author cite his sources?
Putting it all together
Accuracy - If your page lists the author and
institution that published the page and provides a
way of contacting them and . . .
Authority - If your page lists the author’s
credentials and its domain is preferred (.edu, .gov,
.org, .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 the links are evaluated, the content is
balanced, and the source is cited . . .
then . . .
You may have a Web page that could
be of value to your research!