CRITERIA FOR EVALUATING INFORMATION SOURCES:
- Is it clear who is responsible for the page? The final element in the URL may provide a clue:
com indicates a commercial origin, edu an educational institution, gov a government
body, org a non-profit organization.
- Is it clear who wrote the material? Are the author's qualifications stated?
- If an organization is responsible, is there a way to verify its legitimacy? Is there a
statement of purposes? Is there a telephone number and an address (not just an e-mail address)?
- If factual information or statistics are given, are the sources clearly stated?
- Is the information free of grammatical, spelling, and typographical errors? (These kinds of
errors not only indicate a lack of quality control, but can produce inaccuracies in information).
- Is advertising clearly differentiated from information?
- Are biases clearly stated?
- Are opinion/editorial pieces clearly labelled?
- Are there dates to indicate when the page was written? When it was last revised?
- If information from another source is included, is it clear when it was written?
- Are there other indications of frequency of updates?
TYPES OF WEB SITES WHICH NEED TO BE EVALUATED WITH SPECIAL CARE:
Business/Marketing: Purpose is to provide information and/or advertising for a company or
product, and frequently to stimulate consumer interest or to sell directly. Print sources usually
make a clear distinction between advertising and information; on the web, this distinction can be blurred.
"Infomercial": A blend of advertising, information and entertainment.
Personal pages: For a comparatively small investment of time and money anyone can mount a
personal home page; purposes for doing so vary widely.
The Web is only one source of information:
- It can be very useful for certain topics
- It can be almost useless for other topics
- To research a topic thoroughly use a variety of sources, both web and traditional.
Adapted from Alexander and Tate, Evaluating the World Wide Web
Widener University, 1996. http://www.science.widener.edu/~withers/evalout.htm