More Research Guidance
Guidelines for Evaluating Web Pages
- Who wrote the page and can you contact him or her?
- What is the purpose of the document and why was it produced?
- Is this person qualified to write this document
- Make sure author provides e-mail or contact address/phone number
- Know the distinction between author and Webmaster.
- Who published the document and is it separate from the “Webmaster?”
- Check the domain of the document - what institution publishes this document?
- Does the publisher list his or her qualifications?
- What credentials are listed for the authors?
- Where is the document published? Check URL domain.
- What goals/objectives does this page meet?
- How detailed is the information?
- What opinions (if any) are expressed by the author?
- Determine if page is a mask for advertising; if so, information might be biased.
- View any Web page as you would an infomercial on television. Ask yourself why was this written and for whom?
- When was it produced?
- What was it updated?
- How up-to-date are the links (if any)?
- How many dead links are there?
- Are the links current or updated regularly?
- Is the information on the page outdated?
- Are the links (if any) evaluated and do they complement the documents’ theme?
- Is it all images or a balance of text and images?
- Is the information presented cited correctly?
- If page requires special software to view the information, how much are you missing if you don’t have the software?
- Is it free or is there a fee to obtain the information? Is there an option for text only, or a suggested browser for better viewing?
Putting It All Together
Accuracy: If your page lists the author and institution that published the page and provides a way of contacting him/her and...
Authority: if your page lists the author’s credentials and its domain is preferred (.edu, .gov, .org, or .net), and...
Objectivity: if your page provides accurate information with limited advertising and it is objective in presenting the information, and...
Currency: if your page is current and updated regularly (as stated on the page) and the links (if any) are also up-to-date, and...
Coverage: if you can view the information properly – not limited to fees, browser technology, or software requirement, then...
You may have a web page that could be of value to your research!
Kapoun, Jim. "Teaching undergrads WEB evaluation: A guide for library instruction." C&RL News (July/August 1998): 522-523.