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Research Skills: Evaluating Websites

Basic research skills such as finding books, journal articles, working with databases, citing your sources, and more.

How to evaluate websites

Everyone can create a website and put it on the Internet. Not all information is reliable.

Use the following criteria to evaluate websites:

Accuracy - Look for e-mail, contact address and phone numbers. You want to find out if the author is qualified to write the web page.
 
Authority -  Look for the URL domain. Is the author affiliated with an educational institution (edu), a government agency (gov), an organization (org), or a commercial site (com)? Do the authors/publishers list their qualifications?
 
Objectivity - Are the goals and aims of the website clearly stated? Is the group/person/organization legitimate? Ask yourself why the page was written and for whom.
 
Currency - Check for dead links and outdated information. If you see a date listed, it may be the date of posting or the date of revision.
 
Coverage - Do you need specialized software to access the information? Are you required to pay a fee to access the information?
 
For more information link to this University Guide.
 

How to GOOGLE more efficiently

The University of Illinois has an excellent guide to using Google effectively for academic research!