General guidelines

Just being in print or available via the Internet doesn't guarantee that something is accurate or good research. When searching the Web, it's important to critically evaluate your search results:
Look for articles published in scholarly journals 

  • or sources that require certain standards or criteria be met before publication.

  • Look for materials at Web sites that focus on scholarly resources 
    (e.g. Google Scholar)

  • Compare several opinions 
    by scholars in your topic field, which is another way to verify or evaluate your sources.

  • Consult your instructor. 

How to evaluate web resources

Authority:

  • Reliability of information
  • Is the author an expert in the field?
  • Does the author have his/her contact information?
  • Are the sources of information clearly expressed or identified?
  • Does the resources have the back up of a well-respected organization?

Scope:

  • Accuracy and usefulness of the information.
  • Availability of information in other formats.
  • Is the purpose of the resource of information clearly specified?
  • What items are included in the resource?
  • What is the subject area?
  • What is the time and period of the information?
  • Is the information factual or presenting someone's opinion?
  • Does the website have original information or just links to other resources?
  • How frequently is the website updated?

Format:

  • Do you get the information easily?
  • Does the website have images and photos? What is the quality of these images and photos?
  • Are the used images original or taken from another website?
  • Does the site have a search engine?
  • Is it easy to use and browse through?

Accessibility:

  • Is the website available to everybody?
  • Response time rate, is fast or slow?
  • Do you have to register to get to the information?
  • If you are not a member, can you still have access to the information?
  • Do you have to pay fees to have access to information?
R.E.A.L.

R. Read the URL:

  • The first thing to do when evaluating websites is to read and check the URL of that website.
  • Always look at the domain (xxxx.org, xxxx.edu, xxxx.gov, etc.) if you see these it means that the website is reliable.
  • If the domain of the URL instead of org, edu, gov, you see members, blog...etc. then this means that the information might be bias or not true.

E. Examine the site content:

  • Who is the author or publisher of the website?
  • When was the website updated, is it recent and done frequently or last year?
  • Is the information in the website reliable?
  • How did you find the website? was it recommended to you by your faculty or a friend? or found it by surfing the net? or you found the link within another website?

A. Ask who's the author or publisher of the website:

  • Is there any biographical information about the author?
  • Can you find the about me or about us information?

L. Look at the links

  • Check the link forwards and link credibility, to which websites these links are forwarding you to?
  • Do a backward search for the link, type in a search engine (link+colon+website name) and check the search results. The search results should be all the websites that will direct and link you back to your website.