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Library Research Guide: Evaluating Websites

This is a general purpose guide with tips and tricks on how to conduct research using library resources.

Evaluating Websites

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.

For example:

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?

Evaluating Web Resources: Video Tutorial

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