Evaluating Web Sites
The Internet offers access to millions of
websites. However, not all sites are accurate, current or appropriate for
research. You must select sites carefully if you plan to include information
from them in your own work.
Some things to think about before
using the Internet for research:
There is no quality control on the Internet. Anyone with proper equipment
can publish a website -- whether or not they know what they're talking about!
The Internet is not always the most effective way to find information.
Searching the Internet can be like looking for a needle in a haystack.
Ask yourself if it would be easier, faster or more effective to use
reference books, newspapers, or other library resources. Your librarians can
help you find what you need.
Whenever possible, use recommended sites (see Subject Links and Research
Resources) and online databases such as INFOTRAC and EBSCO.
Some questions to ask to evaluate
What type of site is it? Educational? Commercial? Personal? Pay attention to
URL endings like .edu, .org, .gov, and .com.
Is the purpose of the page to inform, to persuade, to entertain, or to sell
Who is the author/creator of the website?
What are his/her credentials? Is he/she an expert in the field? Does he/she
give an address to contact?
If the website is sponsored by an organization, what is its reputation? Does
it present information without bias?
How current is the information? Check to see when the page was updated.
Is the information reliable? Can you find it in more than one source?
Does the creator of the website cite his/her sources?
Finally, remember to cite your
sources. Be sure to gather
all the information you will need from each website in order to include it in
your list of works cited. Click
here for examples on how to
cite electronic sources: