Evaluating Websites

Ask yourself these questions when evaluating whether a website should be used for your research:

Accuracy of the Website

  • Is the information objective?
  • Is the information on the website true? (Can you find the same information in several other sources?)
  • Is the information supported by evidence?

Authority of the Website

  • What can the URL tell you (.com, .org, .gov, .edu)? 
  • Is the creator part of or endorsed by a reputable organization?
  • Are the author’s credentials or educational background listed?

Currency of the Information

  • When was it produced?
  • When was the last update?
  • Are the links functional?

Relevance of the Website

  • Does this information answer your research question?
  • Who is the attended audience?
  • Would you feel comfortable citing this for a research paper?

Purpose of the Website

  • Is the website trying to sell you something?
  • Are there political, ideological, or religious biases?
  • Does the creator make their purpose clear?

 

University of California, Berkeley provides a more detailed look at evaluating resources of any type. Websites require very careful evaluation. 

Remember that Internet searches only search a very small percentage of available digital resources. They do not search library databases that have been compiled specifically for research and selected by the OCC Library especially for our courses. 

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