Anything can and will be published on the Web, so critical evaluation skills are essential to determine the value of the information before you use it in your research.
Here are some basic criteria to consider when evaluating a website.
Is it clear who created the website?
Is there contact information?
Are the authors; qualifications and credentials stated?
Is the site supported by an organization?
Is it clear when the information was last updated?
How reliable is the information?
Are references given for statistical data?
Is the information comparable to other sites on the same topic?
Is a bibliography or reference list included?
Are topics explored in depth?
Is there substantial original information or only links to other sites?
Is the site selective or comprehensive?
Is the information presented with a particular bias?
Is the site trying to explain, inform, persuade or sell?
Is there advertising which might indicate a conflict of interest?
What is the purpose of the site, and does the content support it?
Is the information geared toward a specific audience (scholars, general reader)?
Is the site well organized and focused?
Are the links appropriate for the site?
The links below go into greater detail when it comes to evaluating websites:
Help stop the spread of fake news. Verify that information is credible before you "like," "share," "tweet" or otherwise engage with it. The video below from TedEd offers strategies for choosing credible news sources.