Evaluating Sources

Additional Questions to Ask about Web Pages

Note: The greater number of questions listed below answered "yes", the more likely the source is of high quality. 

AUTHORITY

  • Is it clear who wrote the material, and are the author's qualifications for writing on this topic clearly stated?
  • Do you recognize the URL address as a reputable organization/company?
  • Is there a link to a page describing the goals or purpose of the organization, or the nature of the company?
  • Is the name of the copyright holder given?
  • Is there a "~" sign in the URL address?  This is often a sign of a personal webpage.
ACCURACY
  • Are the sources for any factual information clearly listed so they can be verified in another source?
  • Is the information free of grammatical, spelling, and other typographical errors?
  • If there are charts and/or graphs, are they clearly labeled and easy to read?
  • Are there editors monitoring the accuracy of the information being published?
OBJECTIVITY
  • If there is any advertising on the page, is it clearly differentiated from the informational content?
  • Is the information provided as a public service?
  • Are any biases apparent on the part of the author or the sponsoring organization?
  • Are editorials and opinion pieces clearly labeled?
CURRENCY
  • When the page was first placed on the Web and when was it last revised?
  • If material is presented in graphs or charts, is it clearly stated when the data was gathered?
COVERAGE
  • Is it clear what topics the page intends to address?
  • Does the page succeed in addressing these topics, or has something significant been left out?
  • Is the point of view of the organization presented in a clear manner with its arguments well supported?
  • If there is a print equivalent to the web page, is it clear whether the entire work is available on the Web or only parts of it?

Adapted from Widener University/Wolfgram Memorial Library's Evaluating Web Resources, © Copyright Jan Alexander & Marsha Ann Tate 1996-2003. Posted with permission.

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