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Website Evaluation: Home

Evaluate Each Website Independently

Why is it important to evaluate websites and internet resources? 

  • The number of available resources from the World Wide Web continues to grow at an immense rate.
  • Anyone can publish anything on the Internet. Information is not always edited before being published to the Internet.
  • Most of the information found on the Internet is not reviewed by professionals or experts. Remember just because it is on the Internet does not mean it is true or correct.
  • Evaluating every website is a requirement, not an option.
  • A person must evaluate websites with a CRITICAL eye.

Evaluate Your Sources

Wikipedia or NOT?

 

Wikipedia can be good place to start your research … but NOT to end!

Use it to get some general background information and links to other resources, but beware errors and inconsistencies. 

Evaluating Websites

  • Use the following criteria when evaluating a website:

    Currency

    • The information is up-to-date.
    • The page is complete.
    • The page is updated regularly.
    • Good Example:
      • New York Times
      • www.nytimes.com
        • The New York Times updates their online newspaper daily and posts the time it was updated.
    • Questionable Example: 
    • Practice: When was the website made?

    Relevance

     Authority

    • The author is an expert in the field.
    • The author is qualified, reliable, and knowledgeable. 
    • Look for links titled "About Us", "Biography", "Philosophy", or "Background"
    • Search using multiple search engines
    • Truncate back to domain name to check publisher's authority
    • Look for it in an annotated professional directory
    • Check if other websites link to the page. Use different web browsers.
    • Google the author "Earlise C. Ward":  www.google.com
      • Example search: link:www.wisconsin.gov
    • Look for the "owner" of the site using a "whois" search.
    • Good Example:
      • The Jack London Collection
      • http://london.sonoma.edu
        • This website on Jack London has an author, an institutional affiliation, and contact information.
    • Questionable Example:
      • Life of Amos Bronson Alcott
      • www.alcott.net/frame.html
        • Click on biography
        • This web page has no author, no institutional affiliation, no contact information.
    • Practice: Who Is the Author?

    Accuracy

    • The reliability and correctness of the information.
    • The sources used for statistics, facts, and data are documented.
      • Check other web sites to verify the information.
    • The website looks professional.
      • No spelling and grammatical errors.
    • It is free of advertising.
    • Good Example:
      • U.S. Census Bureau
        • The sources used to create the data is listed on the bottom of the page.
    • Questionable Example:

    Purpose

    • The information is factual data and is free from personal bias.
    • The tone of the page is balanced and scholarly.
    • Facts are separated from opinion.
    • The information is very detailed.
    • The goals or objectives are clear.
    • Does the author use inflammatory language or make over generalizations.
    • Good  Example:
    • Questionable Example:
      • www.aricept.com/alzheimers-stages
        • This page provides news and information about Alzheimer's Disease, but it is sponsored by a drug company. It also has a disclaimer at the bottom of the page.
    • Practice: Is There Bias?

The Domain level of a website tells you type of entity that owns the website. A .gov website would have the highest credibility ranking and a .net website would have the lowest credibility ranking.

  1. .gov (U.S. government)
  2. .mil (U.S. military)
  3. .edu (university or college)
  4. .org (non-profit organization)
  5. .com (commercial)
  6. .net (network)

Examples:

A web page is composed of three parts. The three parts are a header, body, and footer.

Header

  • Includes a title or graphic banner
  • Includes links to other pages in the site.

Body

  • The actual content is located in this part of the page.
  • May include "hot links" that go to another website, page or different section on the same page.

Footer

  • This is where information about the creation of the page is usually located.
  • The information may include the date the page was created, the last update, the author, site sponsors, and address.

A website is made up of webpages. These pages include a home page and content pages.

Home Page

  • The first page of the site
  • It describes what information is found within the site.
  • This page is like a book's the title page, table of contents, site index and introduction combined.
  • A complete list of the site's major sections are usually listed on this page.

Content Page

  • This is where the website's information itself is located.
  • Each page should be linked back to the homepage.

Finding Credible Web Sources

Did you know....Google organizes sites by popularity not relevance? Here are some tips for finding better results:

 Use quote marks to search for an exact phrase.

Example: "study skills"

 Limit your search to a specific type of domain by typing site:edu for education or site:gov for government

Example: lymphoma site:gov

 Word order matters so use the most important words first.

Example: blue sky brings back different results than sky blue

 Advanced search allows Google to search a single specific web site for all the occurrences of a keyword or phrase.

Tools

TIPS for searching online

Tips to Searching Online

Keywords - do brainstorming first before you search, order of words matter

Use quotation marks for exact phrases “fake news”

Boolean searching : Use + and – to narrow your search  Journalists + 1900

Advanced search option in Google - go to GOOGLE ADVANCED

Searching the webpage use Ctrl+F. ...

Set a time limit then change tactics/ use different search engines - Try different search terms too!

Evaluating websites - Determine if it’s CRAAP