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Evaluating information found on the Internet

Using the following pointers will help determine the validity of an Internet site for a research project.

  • Authors - Who put the information on this Internet site?  Do they have a bias?  Are they selling something?  Why was this site created?
  • Domain - The three letter top-level domain extension will tell you a little about the originator of the site. Is this site commercial (.com), educational (.edu), military (.mil), governmental  (.gov), international (.int), nonprofit  (.org)?  Does the site provide network connection services (.net)?  
  • Currency -  When was the information put on this site?  Is there a date?  Has the information been updated recently?
  • Validity -  Are facts and figures correct?   If you do not know, verify facts or figures with another source.  Look for statistics in reference books or scholarly journals.  Check spellings in dictionaries.  Look in encyclopedias for general information.  Look at other web sites for a second source.
  • Coverage - Is this the whole story?  Are there other facts, or is there another side to this issue?  A second source will help eliminate errors because facts were left out of one site.
  • Cost -  Do you pay to use this site?  There may be other sources for the information needed which do not charge access fees.
  • Relevance - Is this the information which answers the original question?  Has complete information been found which answers the original question?

Links to more information on Web site and information evaluation:

Evaluating Web Sites || Thinking Critically about WWW Resources ||
The Good the Bad & the Ugly ||  Criteria for Evaluating Resources

 

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Updated: November 18, 1999