When you are looking at a web page and deciding if it is appropriate to use in your research you must think about how to evaluate a website in order to decide if it is worth using in your research.
How accurate is this website?
- Who is the author? Have they written more on this topic?
- Has the author provided contact information?
- Is there a bibliography or a reference list?
- Does the content make sense and match other sources that you have looked at?
Look at the authority of the website:
- Is the author affiliated with an academic institution?
- What is the URL? - is it .com for commercial or .edu for education?
What is the context of the writing?
- Is the author writing for personal or political reasons?
- Are the arguments balanced?
- Is there an evidence of a bias?
How current is the website?
- Are the web documents dated?
- When was the site last updated?
- Look at the date of the items listed on the reference list, how old are they?
- Are the links on the page broken?
What is the design like?
- Is it professional looking and easy to navigate?