Evaluating Websites for Academic Reseach

  • More and more, worthwhile information is being taken off the free net, and people are required to pay for it: which is why we recommend databases for academic research. Since anyone and everyone can put on information on the web, it behooves the user to analyze its value.

    Here’s a form to use for analyzing a website: Website Evaluation form.

    For Teachers
    In teaching website evaluation, there are many options.

    Other Exercises for Website Evaluation:

    Questions to ask about ANY information:

    1. Who wrote the website? Can you tell? Do they have any credentials included on the site (perhaps under “About Us”)? If you cannot tell who wrote the site, it will not make a good school source. The author is NOT the webmaster, but the person responsible for content.
    2. Where did it come from? Be aware that .edu and .gov sites can be better quality than .com (Be aware that an advanced search in google allows you to limit domain types to .edu)
    3. Does the source have an agenda and/or bias? In other words, does the source lack objectivity? Are they trying to sell you on a product or idea? Do they have reason to be biased for or against an idea?
    4. When was the site produced? Can you tell when the site was last updated? How current is the information? If there are dead links, the site is not being maintained, and may not be a good information source for you.
    5. Can you readily access the information? In other words, is it at your reading level, or are you just kidding yourself? Sites are written for different audiences. Was this one written with a high school student in mind, or is it too easy (elementary school) or too advanced (written in the language of graduate students)?