Evaluating Websites

Evaluating Websites

“Trying to sort out the gems from the junk on the Internet”

Criteria for Evaluating Web Resources










What is the purpose of the site or page? Look for tips in graphics and text. Web pages may be...








       a hoax

What does the URL (Web address) say about the producer of the web site, and its purpose? Look at the final syllable in the domain name.


Government agency: www.whitehouse.gov


Commercial site:  http://www.ebay.com


Higher education - www.isu.edu. Other educational sites may appear with different domain names: www.whitehouse.gov/kids or http://www.d91.k12.id.us


Military site- www.navy.mil/


("tilde") Personal site - http://www.members.tripod.com/~DAdams/qkbrdinf.html


Organization; may be charitable, religious, or a lobbying group - http://www.greenpeace.org.

       Country names appear as a two-letter abbreviation in the domain name. For a complete list, go to Domain Name Registries around the World (http://www.norid.no/domenenavnbaser/domreg-alpha.html).

       New domain names include .museum, .info and .biz, among others. Read more about them at InterNic FAQ on Domain Names   (http://www.internic.net/faqs/new-tlds.html)



       Who is the author?

       What are his credentials?

       Does he have sufficient authority to speak on the subject?

       Is there any way to reach him?

       Is there an organizational or corporate sponsor?

       Is this page authentic, or is it a hoax?

       Is there a reference list?

Practice by using criterion above:  Growing herbs in the home garden  (http://w3.aces.uiuc.edu/NRES/extension/factsheets/vc-44/VC-44.html)


       Does the content reflect a bias?

       Is the bias explicit or hidden?

       Does the identity of the author or sponsor suggest a bias?

       How does the bias impact the usefulness of the information?

Practice by using criterion above:   National Rifle Association  http://www.nra.org/Aboutus.aspx

Appropriateness & Relevance

       Is the content appropriate for your classroom or your assignment?

       Is the reading level appropriate for your students?

       Is the content appropriate for the age or developmental level of your students?

       Is the content accurate, complete, and well-written?

       Is the content relevant to your topic or question?

Practice by using the criterion above:  Women and Aids (







       Is the information on the page up-to-date?

       Can you tell when the page was last updated?

       Are there dead links?

       Is there a difference between the date the information was created and the date the page was last updated?

Practice using the criterion above:  CNN (http://www.cnn.com)


       Are the authors up-front about their purpose and content?

       Is there a way to contact the authors?

       Do the authors give credit for information used?

       Is there a reference list?

Practice using the criterion above:  Edmunds Automotive Network http://www.edmunds.com/help/about/



       Is the information clearly presented?

       Is the text neat, legible and formatted for easy reading?

       If there are graphics, do they add to the content or distract?

       If there are advertisements, do they interfere with your ability to use the page?

       Are the pages well organized?

       Are there mistakes in spelling or word usage?

Practice by using the criterion above:  EIRMC – Virtual Body  (http://www.eirmc.com/VBody.asp)



       Can you get in?

       Does the site load quickly?

       Can you move around the site easily?

       Is the site or page still there next time?

       Is there a text-only alternative for the visually-impaired?


Practice by using criterion above:  MSNBC (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/



Hoaxes present a major challenge for evaluating information found on the Web. Here are several examples to test your Evaluation IQ. To verify the authenticity of the site, you may have to drill down through several layers to find "About" or "Contact Us". Some of the examples below are harmless and entertaining; others are harmful, even hateful. All could give misinformation to the unaware reader.

The Onion


Women and Aids