Here's some brief guidelines that you can use to analyze a web site and determine its value for your research. You might not be able to answer all the questions about a certain web site. But if you find that there are a LOT of questions you can't answer, or if the answers you get aren't satisfactory, you probably shouldn't use that web site as an information source.
Click here to print a copy of these guidelines for future reference.
Guidelines for Evaluating Web Resources
If factual information is given, are sources clearly identified? Can you find another web page that gives the same fact or statistic? If you have doubts, ask a librarian for help!
Look for grammatical errors, misspellings and other typos. A page that is carelessly put together could easily contain factual inaccuracies as well.
What person or organization is responsible for this page? If you can't tell, you probably shouldn't use it.
Can you verify that this person or organization is who they say they are? **An e-mail address isn't good enough. Look for a street address or phone number.**
Is the language of the site neutral, persuasive, or inflammatory?
Does the page feature advertising? Is it clearly set apart from the rest of the information on the page, or could it be misinterpreted as content rather than advertisement?
Look for a mission statement for the organization, or an explanation of the web page's purpose. This might help you measure the author's objectivity.
Look for the following:
when the page was written
when it was last updated
Can you see any other signs that the web page is being maintained? For example, look for links that no longer work, or things like "under construction" signs on pages that are 3 years old!
Is the page "under construction"? If so, what's missing?
Is the scope of the page clearly set forth? What were the author's overall goals?
How well does the page cover the ground it intended to cover? Do you notice obvious gaps in content?
Is the information cited approriately for verification purposes?