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Education: A Research Guide

Evaluating Web Sites

The good, the bad, and the ugly -- choosing the right websites.

Care must be taken in searching for information on the Internet. Unlike both the print resourcesand databases provided by the library, free Internet resources have not necessarily been published by reputable academic publishers. 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. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Who is the author of this material? Are the author's credentials listed?
  • What institution or organization sponsored the material?
  • When was the Web site created or last updated?
  • Where is the publisher located?  Does it exist in the physical world?
  • Why was the information published? 
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Is the information provided objective or biased?
  • How does information provided by the site compare to other works, including print works?

Evaluating Resources