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Evaluating Web Pages: Evaluating Web Pages

Guidelines for Evaluating Web Pages

To evaluate a website, start by considering the four criteria below and asking the associated questions.

1. Currency -- The date when a web page was created or updated can make a difference in how helpful it is for your argument.  

  • When was the web page/article written or updated?  (NOTE: You may have to look at the bottom of the page, near the title, or on the site's home page.)
  • Is the information current enough for your project?
  • Why might the date matter for your topic?

2. Reliability -- In order to be reliable, a website should usually provide relevant support for the arguments it contains.  Otherwise, the information has no clear context which you can use to verify facts or trace meaningful dialog.

  • Does the author use sources to support the page's arguments?
  • If so, how many sources are used?
  • Is it clear exactly which specific sources the author used?
  • Why are the sources used appropriate or inappropriate support for the argument?

3. Authority -- Determining whether the person or organization providing the information is qualified to make such an argument is helpful for judging the value of the information.

  • What is the name of the person(s) or organization that wrote the page? (NOTE: You may have to visit the home page or "About" page to answer this.)
  • What can you find about this person's institutional affiliation, education, or relevant experience? (NOTE: It might help to Google the person or organization.)
  • How does this author's background make them an authority?
  • What kind of bias might this background suggest?

4. Purpose and Point of View of Website -- Looking at the larger context of the web page or website can help you make a decision about how much you trust its information.

  • What is the domain extension of the website?
  • What would you say is the main reason the web page was put on the internet?
    • To persuade others and provide opinions?
    • To provide facts or information?
    • To sell something?
    • Something else?
  • If there are advertisements on the web page, are they related to the main information on the page?
  • Do the headlines and images seem to match what the author is saying?
  • Based on the writing style, vocabulary, and graphics, who is the intended audience that the web page is trying to reach?
    • Children?
    • The general public?
    • Scholars or professionals?

Adapted From

The Keene Info Lit Bank.  Mason Library, Keene State College.  "C.R.A.P. Website Evaluation Checklist."  February 14, 2012.  Adapted by Laurie Phillips and Jason Ezell, Monroe Library, Loyola University New Orleans.  

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