How to Evaluate Web Sources
The Internet can be a great tool for research, but
finding quality web materials and using them to your
advantage in your writing can be challenging.
There is the danger of being mislead if you do not
actually evaluate the resources you find on the
Internet. Remember, any person can publish almost
anything on the Web about any topic.
Types of Web Pages
available on the Internet:
Personal web pages
Political/interest group pages
Marketing-oriented or “infomercial” pages
What to look for in Web Pages:
Is the information without spelling and grammatical
Can you easily read the graphs and charts?
Does the author cite the sources of information?
Who is the creator of the site? Does he give a date of
creation of the site? Does he provide an email or any
other contact information?
Is there a name of the site’s author and what are his
credentials if he appears as an expert. Check for
information like “About the Author”.
Where is the document published? Check the URL domain
for .edu, .com,. gov, .org, .net, .au, .us, .uk., etc.
to help determine if its origin is a business, a
university, a political party, etc.
What topics are covered? What is the purpose of the
Is the site free or is there a fee for the information?
How in-depth is the material? Are there references to
other sources, footnotes, hyperlinks, reference pages?
Is there a table of contents or a menu that shows you
the coverage of the subject?
Does the author consider opposing points of view?
Does the information cover recent changes or advances in
the field or topic you are researching?
Look for indications in the text for dates or references
to a past event
How current are the links?
What is the general purpose of the Web site?
Are they trying to sell you something?
Do they have a political bias?
Do they provide you with accurate and complete
information on this topic?
Are legal disclaimers included on the site?