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Citations and Putting It Together: Evaluating websites

Evaluate Internet Sites

The Internet is a vast source of information, some scholarly and/or reliable, and some not.  Here are some things you can look for when evaluating a web page.

Indications of author/sponsor credibility:
The author of the page is known.
The author has education, training and experience is in a field relevant to the topic.
The sponsoring organization (educational, governmental, nonprofit or corporate) is known and respected.

Indications of accuracy:
Factual information can be verified in other sources.
There are no obvious spelling, grammatical or other errors.
The site indicates what information, processes or procedures were used to reach a conclusion.

Indications of objectivity and reasonableness:
The tone of writing is balanced and reasoned. The site is free from inflammatory language or strong bias.
Other points of view are presented.
The author appears to be fair-minded and objective, or clearly states bias and opinion.
Data is carefully interpreted whether the analysis supports or refutes a premise.
There is no conflict of interest between the sponsoring organization and the research results.

Indications of scholarly support:
Sources are listed in a bibliography.
The author or organization provides contact information.
Statistics and facts are well documented.
There are diagrams, tables, illustrations, etc. to support the text.

Indications of depth:
The topic covered at length.
The site has substantial textual content as opposed to being mostly a collection of links.
The information goes beyond the obvious information known to most people.

The Web on Web Evaluation

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