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Theatre: A Research Guide: Evaluating Internet Sources

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Tutorials

To develop your skills in evaluating and identifying authoritative resources in the Internet, try this online tutorial
for researching  on the Internet:

Searching the Internet

Care must be taken in searching for information on the Internet. Unlike both the print resources found in the library and the electronic databases provided by the library, freely available Internet resources have not necessarily been published by reputable academic publishers nor have they been selected by librarians with expertise in their subject area. Nearly anything can be posted on a website, and just because it is available online does not mean it is valid or authoritative.

However, this does not mean that you cannot find good resources on the Internet; the key to doing so is to carefully evaluate what you find on the web. If you use web resources, be sure to ask these questions:

  • Who is the author of the Web site? Are the author's credentials listed?
  • What institution or organization is behind the Web site?
  • When was the Web site created or last updated?
  • Who is the intended audience for the Web site?
  • Is the information provided objective or biased?
  • How does information provided by the site compare to other works, including print works?

Evaluating Web Resources

CRAAP Test Gettysburg College explains the important of currency, relevance, authority, accuracy, and purpose.

Evaluate Internet Resources  UMUC provides a checklist of questions to ask about an Internet resource or any information resource.

Evaluating Web Pages: Techniques to Apply & Questions to Ask UC Berkeley provides a great evaluative framework in a graphically-pleasing chart.

Five Criteria for Evaluating Web Pages  A chart from Cornell's Web site.

What's in a URL?  IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority) list of generic top-level domain name endings (like .com, .gov).