How to evaluate a Website?
Evaluating Internet Content
- It is important to judge, its accuracy and to establish that the information comes from a reliable and appropriate sources.
Why is it important to evaluate internet content?
- So that we can find trustworthy information.
Aspects to consider evaluating a page
- Who is the website’s future audience? Academics? The public? School children?
- Does it suitably talk the goal audience?
- Is it related to your project or investigation?
- Is the author identified? If the author has designated to remain anonymous, ask yourself ‘why?’
- Is the author a person you distinguish as skilled in his field?
- If not, is there sufficient information provided to start the author’s credibility?
- Is she qualified to write about the subject?
- Can you find orientations to her elsewhere?
- Is the author associated with an academic institution or reliable organization?
If the information is part of a paper or other online newspaper, you should try to establish the authority of that publication:
- Is the name of the publication clear?
- Are contact details and ‘about’ information provided?
- Do you recognize the name of the publisher?
- Does it look like a professional publication?
- Is there associated branding?
- Is the publication referenced away?
- Is it free from spelling errors?
- Is the text well written and grammatically correct?
- Has the content been through an editing process or been peer reviewed?
- Has the author included a bibliography?
- Are the sources cited reliable and can they be confirmed elsewhere?
- Are research methodologies adequately clarified?
- Does the author present objective advice or make it clear when he is expressing biased opinions?
- Are other points of view explored?
- Is it a personal website? Does it express personal opinions?
- Is the website part of a commercial organisation, a political party or an organisation with a specific agenda? If yes, question the motives for publishing the information.
- Does the website promote a biased viewpoint?
- Can you tell when the information was published?
- Is the information up to date?
- How frequently is the website updated?
- Are the links up to date and working?
- The URL
Look at the URL (web address) of the website. The domain name can help you establish if the information has been published by a credible source.
You still need to apply the same criteria mentioned above to establish reliability, and don’t forget to check the information is up to date.