Ask yourself the following questions about each website you're considering
- How recent is the information?
- Can you locate a date when the page(s) were written/created/updated?
- Does the website appear to update automatically (this could mean no one is actually looking at it)?
- Based in your topic, is it current enough?
- What kind of information is included in the website?
- Based on your other research, is it accurate? ...complete?
- Is the content primarily fact, or opinion?
- Is the information balanced, or biased?
- Does the author provide references for quotations and data?
- If there are links, do they work?
- Can you determine who the author/creator is?
- Is there a way to contact them?
- What are their credentials (education, affiliation, experience, etc.)?
- Is there evidence they're experts on the subject?
- Who is the publisher or sponsor of the site?
- Is this publisher/sponsor reputable?
- Can you verify the claims in other sources?
- Is there a bibliography or list of works cited?
- What types of sources and how many relevant sources are cited?
- Does the author demonstrate a depth of knowledge on the topic?
Purpose / Point of View
- What's the intent of the website (to persuade, to sell you something, etc.)?
- What is the domain (.edu, .org, .com, etc.)? How might that influence the purpose/point of view?
- Are there ads on the website? How do they relate to the topic being covered (e.g., an ad for ammunition next to an article about firearms legislation)?
- Is the author presenting fact, or opinion?
- Who might benefit from a reader believing this website?
- Based on the writing style, who is the intended audience?
Adapted from and with thanks to: Molly Beestrum, Dominican University Librarian; and Vanderbilt University Library.