Evaluating Internet Web Sites

Evaluating Websites

It is important to be able to evaluate the content and reliability of the internet site you visit. Unlike a published book, it is often difficult to really assess who created the web site and the information provided and whether the information is accurate.

Before using material you find on a web site, examine:

Web address:

This may give an indication of accuracy, reliability or bias.

edu = education
gov = government
mil = military
org = organisation (non-profit)
com, co, biz, info, net = commercial


Does the site aim to provide accurate information, advertise, or to represent a certain viewpoint?


is the coverage superficial or does it give an in-depth coverage of the subject? Is the information accurate? Can you compare the information with that found on a similar site? Does the site offer new information that you have not already read? Would the material provided be better understood and accessed from a published book?


Has the site been created by someone affiliated with an educational institution? Has the author got an established reputation? Are there any acknowledgements or references to other reputable sites?


Is there any indication what the web publisher intends to cover in the site? Are there references or links to other sites covering the same areas of information?


Has the site been created for a student audience? Is the site aimed at an academic or a general audience? Is the language easily understood?


Is the information up-to-date? Is there evidence that the material has been revised and updated? Is there a copyright date at the bottom of the site, or a last revised date?


Is the site well-organised? Can you easily move around in it, get back to the main page quickly? Are there sufficient headings to help you find the information for which you are searching? Do the graphics complement the information and assist your understanding?


How quickly does the site down-load? Are video clips or graphics slow to access? Do the links within the site still operate and are they quick to access? Has the site been well indexed and accessed through a number of search engines?


Who is responsible for the web site? Can you contact the web master or the publisher if you wish to query information? How often is the site up -dated? Have you read any reviews of the site written in a reliable magazine, paper or journal?


Any information that you use from a web site in an essay or assignment should be acknowledged and the site reference given in your bibliography. Be careful not to plagiarise information.

Last modified: Tuesday, 1 November 2011, 1:41 PM


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