Jul. 14 - Aug. 13, 2014
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How to Evaluate Websites
Anybody with the right software can publish on the Internet. Anybody. Unlike books and journal articles that are reviewed and edited before they are published, there is no formal evaulating process to decide what goes on the internet. So, ultimately - who does the evaluating? Well, you do!
- Who wrote this?
- Is the author an expert in the field he/she is writing about? What are their credentials? What is the author's academic background?
- Is the site affiliated with a business enterprise or an organization? If so, is it a reputable organization such as The American Medical Association?
- What domain does the page come from (.com/.edu/.org)?
- Note: The webmaster creates the code of a Web page, while the author is responsible for the content of a page.
The content of a Website is influenced by its purpose. For example, a Website created by an organization that advocates gun control will contain information that supports that point of view. The information might not be objective and represent both sides of the issue.
- What is the purpose of the page?
- Is the page sponsored by an organization attempting to influence public opinion (.org or .com)? What organization is responsible for the content? Are the organization's biases clearly stated?
- Is the page sponsored by a commercial enterprise (.com)? Is the purpose of the page to sell a product? Is there information about the company? Is the content biased or objective?
- Is the site a personal page? Is it clear who the individual is that created the page and what his/her credentials are? Is the goal of the page to inform, persuade or to entertain? Is the person providing personal opinions of facts? Can the information be verified?
- Is the overall goal of the page to inform? Is the page sponsored by an educational institution (.edu) or by a government agency (.gov)? Is it clear who is responsible for the page and what the author's credentials are? Is the page geared towards a scholarly audience or the general public?
- Is the information current?
- When was the page last updated?
- Are there many dead links (links that don't go anywhere)?
- Does the page contain grammatical and spelling errors?
- Does the page follow good design principles?