Answered By: Sandy Marinaro
Last Updated: Sep 24, 2014     Views: 46

All sources need to be evaluated, but Web source evaluation brings its own set of concerns.

There is no automatic review or editorial process for Web sites, so you carry the burden of determining if a Web source is appropriate for your project. While there is no magic checklist that guarantees a good source, here are some criteria that may help:

Authority Who is the author? What individual, group, agency or organization is responsible for the content of the page? (The domain name may give you a clue.) Can you find information about the  expertise of the author?
Purpose Who is the intended audience? Is the material at an appropriate level for academic research, or are you looking at a high school class project?
Accuracy Do the facts agree with other sources you have checked? Are the sources of information clearly documented?
Objectivity Is only one side of an argument represented? Are there documented facts to support the stated opinions? What sites does the page link to? Is the author’s mission or agenda clearly stated?
Currency Can you determine how current the information is? (Old information is often recycled onto new Web pages.) Is the site updated regularly? Do the links work?