Evaluating Websites

Using the Web

The Internet offers a wide range of information and information sources. Quality control is up to you when using the Internet for research. When you use library resources they have already been evaluated by editors and publishers and selected by the librarian. Resources found in the online WRDSB Virtual Library have also been through an editorial process and selected by the library for their quality and reliability.

There are no filters between you and the Internet.

Accurate reliable information is available. So is unreliable and even deliberately false information.

You need to be the judge.

Checklist for Evaluating a Website

Adapted from Think Literacy: Cross-Curricular Approaches Subject-Specific Examples. Library Research, Grades 7–12

Authority

  • The author of the site is clearly identified.
  • The author has appropriate credentials.
  • The publisher of the site is identified.
  • The site contains contact information.
  • A reputable group has rated the site.

Information experts choose wisely. Check up on authors and sites in Virtual Library databases.

Objectivity

  • The purpose of the site is clearly stated.
  • The sponsors of the site are clearly identified.
  • The intended audience for the site is clear.
  • The site is free of bias and stereotyping.
  • Advertising does not influence the information.

There are always people behind websites. Determine if these people wish to advocate, inform, or entertain.

Accuracy and Completeness

  • The site contains accurate information.
  • The site is well-researched and documented.
  • The site’s information can be verified.
  • The site’s links are reputable and working.
  • The site’s information is deep and well-written.

Start with quality information. Use the Virtual Library for sites that model accuracy and depth.

Currency

  • The date that the site was created is given.
  • The date that the site was updated is given.
  • Key information has been revised recently.

Currency affects accuracy. Check dates on the site to see if the information is current enough for the task.

Technicalities

  • The site is easy to navigate.
  • The site’s graphics and layout add to its value.

Looks can be deceiving. Check that animations, frames, colours and special effects actually inform.

Download your own website evaluation checklist.

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