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Evaluating Websites

Adapted from the Queen's University Library Research Guide, this short flipped-classroom video introduces students to criteria for assessing online sources by Nora Kiss

Evaluating Websites

The World Wide Web, often referred to as "The Internet." was originally created to help scientists and the military exchange information, usually research data.  Eventually, it expanded to include everyone who has a internet connection.  We use the internet today to look for informaiton like addresses and phone number, sales on the products we buy, to email our friends and to stay in touch with each other through social media.  

But there are some things we need to know about the internet in order to make it valuable to us as a tool

  • There are no "rules" for publishing, I can do anything I want
  • They do not have to be objective, my opinion is as good as anyone else's
  • They do not have to be factual, no one checks the facts
  • They do not have to be relevant, nothing ever totally goes away once it's on the internet

So let's use an acronym to help evaluate the sites

C - Currency: Is the website current or is it outdated?

R - Relevant: Does the website contain information that makes sense to my project?

A - Accuracy: Are the facts correct, can I verify them through another source?

A - Author: Who created or wrote the website?  Are they experts? What are their credentials?

P - Purpose:  Why did they create the website?  Was it to provide information, sell a product or rant about a pet peeve?

Try it Yourself

Google Web Search

Tips for effective Internet Searching