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Evaluate a Web Site: Evaluate Sites

These criteria will help you learn the tricks of evaluating web sites.

Why Evaluate?

When conducting research, each source of information must be reviewed with care to ensure that the information you use reflects the quality, authority, perspective and balance that best supports the topic you have selected.  Use the criteria here to assess the quality of information taken from a web source, but keep in mind that the relevance of these criteria are completely dependent upon the particular topics and focus you have chosen.

  • Coverage
  • Accuracy
  • Authority
  • Objectivity
  • Currency


1. Coverage


Does the source present multiple viewpoints and issues or is it specialized, focusing on one aspect of the topic?

Does it provide enough evidence to support its claims or positions?

What is the relative value of the Web site in comparision to the range of information sources available, including non-Internet works?

2. Accuracy


Can the information in the source be verified from another source?

Are the facts accurate?

Are sources of information stated? Are there references or a bibliography?

3. Authority


Is the source signed? 

Are the author's credentials and contact information provided?

Is the source affiliated with an organization or insitution?  Is the affiliation evident in the header of the page?  Is there a link to the home page of the site?

Does the domain name (.edu, .org, .gov, .com) provide any clues about the type of site?

4. Objectivity


What is the motivation of the page? Does the source inform, explain, or persuade?

Are several points of view presented?

Is the material an advertisement or a mask for advertising?

5. Currency



How important is currency to your topic?

Is the source updated regularly or is it static?  Is the date of the last update stated?

Are there references for time-sensitive source material?  If not, is the timliness of source information indicated?  (e.g., "based on 2010 census")

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