Still going to use Google, Yahoo, or any other Search Engines for your research?
The Internet is a powerful tool to use for academic and general interest information. However, not all websites are reliable sources to use. Almost anyone can write and have a website on the internet. It is, therefore, very important to evaluate each website before you consider using the information found on it. Below are areas commonly used to evaluate websites. They are: Authority, Accuracy, Objectivity, and Currency.
Authority: The Author, or Who is providing the information?
Is it clear who or what organization wrote the information on this page?
Is the author acceptable? Unacceptable? What are their credentials?
What makes the author an authority or expert on the subject? Is this someone’s personal page full of his or her opinions?
Look at the URL (address). What is the domain of the site? This gives you a clue to the type information you will probably find.
· .edu – educational facilities ; .com – commercial/company sites
· .org – nonprofit organization sites ; .gov – government sites
Be careful of personal pages. Read the URL carefully. Personal pages usually have a tilde(~) followed by the author’s name( even some .edu sites.) Some personal pages also have the words “users” or “members” (i.e. aol.com/members/brown.) Still others are from common commercial Internet Service Providers who may give free space to anyone (geocities.com)
Accuracy: Content, or Is the information correct?
Are the sources for any factual information listed so that they can be verified? Some sites will even list bibliographies or works cited information at the end or show links to the information's source. Are there detectable errors in the information? Types, misspellings?
Objectivity: Is the purpose advocacy or sales? Is the information unbiased?
What is the purpose of the web site: to sell? To persuade? To inform? To entertain?
Currency: When was the information put on the web? When was it last updated?
Is currency important for this topic? When was it uploaded on the web? When was it last revised or updated?
If you can’t find any copyright or update dates, look at any indications in the body of your web source to see if there are indications of when it was loaded, if the sources used only go up to a certain year, it may have been placed on the web about that time.