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Evaluating Resources

Use the Basic W Questions !!!!!

  • Who? Authorship
  • -What are the author's credentials, qualifications, affiliations?
  • What? Accuracy, Verifiability, Attribution 
  • -Does this book, article, or site satisfy your information need?
    -Can you understand it?
    -Is it the type -of source you need?
    -Can you verify information in other sources?
    -Do other experts agree?
    -Is there a bibliography or reference list?
  • When? Currency 
  • -What is the date of publication?
    -Is newer information available?
    -Do you need the most recent information on your topic?
  • Where? Publisher 
  • -Did you find the reference to this book, article, or site in a reliable source? Where was it published?
    -What is the reputation of the publisher/journal?
    -What kind of review or editorial process preceded publication of the source?
  • Why? Point of View/Bias 
  • What is the author's purpose?
    Is the source objective in presenting the information?
    Can you identify bias?
    Are various points represented?

More on Evaluating Web sites

  • What is the purpose of the site?

    What is the host's motivation for providing the information on the Web? Advertising for profit, part of agency's mission, educational purposes, publicizing a particular agenda? Information about the site can be obtained by examining the last three letters (domain code) of the host address:

    .com = commercial source
    .gov = government agency
    .org = non-profit organization
    .net = consortium (profit or non-profit)
    .edu = educational institution

  • Is it stable? Will it be here tomorrow? 
  • -Are there statistics on use or a copyright date?
    -Did you locate the site through a reliable web page?
    -When was the last update?
  • Is the content accurate and reliable ? 
  • -Is it a link on other sites?
    -Is it copyrighted?
    -Can you verify content through a printed source?
    -Is the content available in other formats?

  • Is there a statement of responsibility or ownership?
    -Is it produced by an organization or person with the background and credentials?
    -Is the content free of bias or prejudice?
    -Is the content reviewed by others?
    -Does each page provide basic information?
  • Is there evidence of regular maintenance? 
  • -Are links and information updated regularly?
    -When was the last update?
  • Is it clear and easy to use? 
  • -Can you quickly move from page to page?
    -Are the arrows and buttons self-explanatory?
  • Is it consistent in the use of graphics, etc? 
  • -Do you get confused about where you are at the site?
  • Do you need special tools to use it? 
  • -If so, does the site point to the required software tools?


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