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Remember that anyone can publish anything on the Web, so you are responsible for evaluating the quality of the Web pages you use for your papers and assignments. Generally, on the web, the author of the page is trying to do one of three things: entertain; inform; or pursuade. Here are some questions to use to evaluate Web pages.
1. URL Look at the Uniform Resource Locator (web address)
- What type of domain is it? (.edu, .com, .gov, org)
- Is it appropriate for the content?
2. AUTHORITY Is it clear who is responsible for the contents of the page?
- Is there a link to a page describing the purpose of the sponsoring organization?
- Can you determine the author/creator of the information and his/her qualifications?
- Are the sources for factual information listed at the bottom, in parenthesis or with links?
- Are the links active?
- Is the information free of grammatical, spelling, and other typographical errors?
- If there are charts and/or graphs containing statistical data, are the charts and/or graphs clearly labeled with the sources of data listed?
- Can you determine the purpose of the page? (is there an "About Us"?)
- Is the information free of advertising?
- Is the information based on opinions and overly biased?
- Are there links to other viewpoints?
- Are there dates on the page to indicate when the page was written and/or updated?
- Are there any other indications that the information is kept current?
BOTTOM LINE: Would you be comfortable citing this page for a research paper?