Evaluating Web Resources

It is not always easy to determine if information on the World Wide Web is credible. However, using the guidelines below will help you in making that evaluation.

1. Currency: the timeliness of the information

When was the information published or posted?

Is it recent enough to be relevant to your thesis? Why or why not?                                                                                               

* Websites Only: How recently has the website been updated?


2.  Relevance: the importance of the information for your needs

Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question?

Is the information at an appropriate level?                                                                                                              

Would you be comfortable using this source for a research paper?                                                                                                            

3. Authority: the source of the information

Who is the creator or author?

What are the author’s credentials or organizational affiliations?

What are the author’s qualifications to write on this topic?


*Websites Only: does the URL reveal anything about the author or source? (examples: .com, .edu, .gov, .org, .net)


4. Accuracy: The reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the content

Is the information supported by evidence?                                                                                                    

Are there citations or bibliography included?

Are there spelling, grammar, or other typographical errors?

*Websites Only: Do all the links work?

5.  Purpose: the reason the information exists

Do the creator(s) make their intentions or purpose clear?

Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?                                                                                                    Are there any political, ideological, cultural, religious, or personal bias?

Is the creator/author trying to sell you something?

Remember to ask yourself:

"Is the Web the best place for this type of information... would a print source or an electronic database be a better choice?" 

For more in-depth information, check out

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