Finding reliable information on the Web can be difficult. Below are some tips
to help you judge the quality of websites.
Characteristics of Books and Journals
- Authors, publishers, and publication dates are clearly identified.
- Authors are experts in the topic
- Authors are often affiliated with reputable institutions
- Articles report original ideas
- Books and journals undergo an editorial review process before publication.
- Once published, the content of books and journals does not change.
Characteristics of Information on the Web
- Many websites do not clearly identify their authors or publishers
- Authors' expertise and motives for writing can be unclear
- Quality and originality of information on the Web varies widely
- Dates listed on webpages can be ambiguous
- The Web is an open forum. Anyone can publish just about anything, with no editorial oversight
- Instability of the Web: here today, gone (or changed) tomorrow
Criteria for Evaluating Information on the Web
Look to see if authors are named, and, if so, what qualifies them to write
about the topic. Remember that you might have to look elsewhere on the
site for this, such as "About Us" or "Mission Statement" page.
Look to see if you can verify what the author is writing. Is there a bibliography
or any supporting evidence provided? How complete is the information?
Are there grammar and spelling mistakes? Does the site work properly?
Look for any bias or prejudice in the information. Are opposing points
of view mentioned? What are the author's goals? Is the purpose of the
web site to inform, entertain, advertise, or persuade?
Look for a publication date for the information. When was the document
produced or updated? Are there dead links? Are new or important discoveries
mentioned (or missing)?
and Using Information on the Web
Use this online tutorial to learn more about information on the Web.
for Evaluating Websites
Use this form to help you keep track of websites used for your research.
- Citing sources in APA format
- Citing sources in MLA format
Your librarians are happy to help if you need assistance - just call:
267-341-3315 (Northeast Campus Library)
267-341-4010 (Newtown Learning Resource Center)