Make your own free website on Tripod.com

EVALUATING THE SOURCE

Back to Search Engines

Accuracy
Are the sources listed, if appropriate?
Are graphs and charts clearly labeled?
Is the document based on either original research by an expert in the field or does the document merely express an author's opinion?
Can you check other sources to compare the information? Does the author refer you to other sites that can verify the information?

Authority
Can you figure out who the author or editor of the site is?
Who are they and why are they writing about this topic?
Are they sponsored by an organization or paying for it themselves?
Do they have any qualifications to write about this topic?
Is there a way to contact the person responsible for the site?

Objectivity
Is the information full of opinions or is it mostly facts?
Is this the full text of the material or a summary?
Is the author trying to sway your opinion?
Is the site provided as a public service?
Whose point of view is the information from?

It is important to decide the purpose of the web site
1. News page: To provide current information, e.g., USA Today, New York Times.
2. Advocacy page: To influence public opinion, e.g., NRA, Right to Life
3. Informational page: to present factual information, e.g., National Geographic
Other types might be: personal, business, entertainment

Currency
Is the information on the site up-to-date?
Is the date on the site? Is it today's date, the posting date, or the revision date?
Has it been updated recently?

Web sites to help with Critical Evaluation

UCLA Critique of Web Sources:  http://www.library.ucla.edu/libraries/college/instruct/web/critical.htm

Guide by Purdue University:  http://thorplus.lib.purdue.edu/research/classes/gs175/3gs175/evaluation.html

Kathy Schrock's Evaluation for Middle School students:  http://discoveryschool.com/schrockguide/evalmidd.html

Sample site: http://www.front14.org/ruediger/revisionism.html