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CJS 411 Olivas (Hamilton): Evaluating Websites

Evaluating Websites

Let’s face it–there is a lot of information available on the Internet! How do you determine if it’s GOOD information, especially if you want to use it for research?
  • Authority
    • Who wrote this information, and why?
    • What credentials or expertise does the author have in the subject area?
    • Is the information fact-based, or opinion-based?
    • Who owns or is sponsoring the website?
  • Purpose
    • Who is the intended audience? Is it for scholars, the community, or private groups?
    • Does the site include a mission statement?
    • What is the purpose of the site? Is it to inform, instruct, persuade, or to sell?
  • Objectivity
    • Is the information biased? If so, does the author acknowledge these biases?
    • Does the author present alternative points of view?
    • Does the website sponsor have any vested interests that could cause bias?
  • Accuracy
    • Is the information contained in this site correct?
    • How accurate is other information within the site?
  • Credibility
    • Where does the information come from?
    • Does the author provide references or a bibliography?
    • If references are listed, are they from primary or secondary sources? Are the references themselves trustworthy?
    • Do the links to references work, or are they broken?
  • Timeliness
    • When was the site last updated?
    • Have there been any new developments or changes in that subject since it was created? Is it outdated?
    • How current are the sources listed as references?
  • Relevance
    • How will using this source contribute to your research?
    • Is this type of resource permitted by your professor?