Evaluate Web Pages (Widener University)
Tate and Alexander, librarians at Widener University, were pioneers in the art of formal Web page evaluation. They advocated five basic criteria (accuracy, authority, objectivity, coverage, currency) with variations in approach for different types of Web pages. This is an updated version of their work.
Evaluating Websites (University of Maryland University College)
Presents an excellent checklist of criteria and questions relevant to Web page evaluation.
You must evaluate all sources that you find - yes, even those found on library shelves or within the library’s databases! So, what do you need to look for?
· Relevancy of resource to your topic
· Currency – are you doing a historical study or do you want only the most recent information about your topic?
· Authority/credibility/reliability of authors/editors/publishers
o What are their credentials?
o Are they considered experts in the field? Do other scholars cite their works?
· Accuracy / validity
o Do other sources say the same thing?
o What supporting evidence (e.g., references) is provided?
· Biases – may have an effect on the information presented
o Who is funding/sponsoring the study?
o What are the author/editor’s affiliations? Political viewpoints? Religious beliefs?
o Is there balanced coverage, where all aspects of the subject are discussed to the same level of detail?
o Is it just-the-facts being presented or an interpretation of the facts?
o Are assumptions or opinions being made without supporting evidence?
o What is the context in which the information was created?
· Purpose & intended audience – this affects how the information is presented
· Referrals – Further Reading suggestions or hyperlinks if it’s a Web site
TIP: The general rule of thumb has been that .gov (and most .edu) Web sites are usually reliable; however, you should evaluate those just as you would the .org and .com sites!
Click on the links below for more information about evaluating information sources:
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, an equal access/equal opportunity institution. Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to direct suggestions, comments, or complaints concerning any accessibility issues with Rutgers web sites to: firstname.lastname@example.org or complete the Report Accessibility Barrier / Provide Feedback Form.