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Evaluate Websites and Online Resources

There is an endless supply of information to be found online, but determining what information is accurate and credible is sometimes difficult. This guide is to assist you in ensuring you are web sources are giving your accurate information.

Ask Questions

6 Questions to ask of every website

Who created the page/site? 

  • Look for an “about us” for general webpage information.
  • What do we know about the author?
    • If there is an author/editor listed, try googling them to find out who they are.
    • Have they written other things on this topic? 
    • What are the author’s/organization’s qualifications? are they congruent with the topic being discussed?
    • If an author/editor/organization cannot be identified, do not use the source. 

What is the site about? 

  • Does it have the information that you need?

Where is the information coming from? 

  • Check the URL/domain or look up the domain owner.
  • domains can tell us a lot about the webpage:
    • .com: These domains can be purchased by anyone, and any information can be put on it (whether it’s correct or not).  
    • This is a country code, and acts similarly to .com. 
    • .edu: This domain is reserved for educational institutions (colleges and universities). 
    • .gov: This domain is reserved for government resources, and can be assumed that the information is credible.
    • .org: This domain is reserved for non-profit organizations. There could still be a bias but is generally reliable.

Why is the site on the web?

  • How does it affect the information?
  • Look for purpose, mission statement, and advertising. 

When was the site created/updated?

  • Look for the copyright date, or dates that articles were published. 
  • Is the date important for the timeliness of the content?

How accurate or credible is the page?

  • How would you cite it?
  • Are there spelling or grammatical errors on the page?

Make a recommendation

Do you have a title to recommend for our collection? Use the Suggest a Purchase form to suggest a book, video or journal.

Do you have suggestions or feedback that can help improve this guide? Please contact this guide's author on the "Getting Started" page.