Evaluating Websites

Because anyone can publish anything on the internet, it is very important to determine that the information you have found on a website comes from a reliable and authoritative source. So, how DO you evaluate a website?

Some hints are listed below. Ask yourself these questions when you are evaluating a website. Your answers will help you decide if the site appears to be a reliable source of information. In addition, we have provided a number of links to excellent guides for website evaluation.

Authority Content
• Is the author/producer easy to identify?
• Are the author’s credentials listed?
• Is the author’s affiliation easy to determine (e.g. university, government)
• Is contact information for the author provided?
• Are there errors or discrepancies on the site?
• Is the content appropriate for your needs?
• Is there sufficient coverage of the topic?
Currency Objectivity
• Can you find the date that the site was created?
• Was the site updated recently?
• Do the links on the site work?
• Is the information factual or opinion?
• Is the site trying to sell something that seems too good to be true?
• Is the information consistent with other sources you’ve found?
• Is the source of the information provided?

Further Reading

Evaluating Web Sites (University of Washington) – A handy one-page guide.
Evaluating Web Pages (Duke University) – Lots of examples and screen shots of what to look for.
Evaluating Web Sites (Washington State University)

Last updated September 20, 2013