scales

Judging What You Find

Once you do a basic internet search, it’s easy to jump right into your new sources without stopping to think about how their information may be skewed or even incorrect. So, after collecting all the internet resources you’d like to use, it’s important to evaluate the information websites present since many do not undergo a review process. Below are five components you should look for in each resource and important questions to ask yourself as you evaluate each source:
 

Accuracy

Does the information seem correct? Are the facts verifiable? Are their sources cited? What type of sources are they—opinions, research findings, case studies?
 

Authority

Who is the author? What expertise does he or she have on this topic? Who sponsors the site? What is the domain: .edu, .org, .com, or .gov?
 

Objectivity

Check the “About us” page to find the website’s mission statement, what is its stated purpose? What position or opinion does its author present? Does it seem biased? Does it present both sides of the argument? What kind of sites does it link to?
 

Currency

On what date was the page created? When was it last updated? Do you need more current information? Do links on the site still connect to their destination?
 

Use

Is this website appropriate for university-level work? Are there gratuitous typos or grammatical errors? Would you quote information from this site in a research paper?
 
It also helps to use a checklist when reviewing websites and other information. The Harris Library Website Evaluation Checklist is a helpful tool and can be adapted for books, journals, and other sources of information.

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