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Evaluate a Website  

Here are a few points to remember when evaluating the reliability of a website.
Last Updated: Jan 13, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Evaluating websites : A critical information skill

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Evaluating Web Sites A Critical Information Skill / Ruth V. Small and Marilyn P. Arnone
Call Number: Eric Document - ED 437069
The evaluation of World Wide Web resources has become a critical information skill for students. Because of the uniqueness of these resources, new tools are required that assess not only the content validity and mechanical functionality of a Web site, but also its motivational quality. This paper describes the development and validation of a set of Web evaluation tools, the Website Motivational Analysis Checklist (WebMAC), designed for use by students in grades 1-12, that are based on motivation theory and provide multiple feedback mechanisms. Research questions included: What motivation theory or theories are most appropriate as a basis for the comprehensive evaluation of Web sites? and Do the WebMAC instruments adequately and validly test the motivational quality of Web sites? A survey of the motivational literature was conducted to investigate the first question. A comprehensive, well-researched theory that could be adapted to the assessment of electronic environments (particularly Web sites) was sought. Formative evaluation methods that included iterative testing of the instruments were implemented with graduate and undergraduate students, educators, and children, while factor analyses were conducted to confirm the theoretical basis of the instrument. These provided evidence for the second question. (Contains 10 references.) (MES)

Cover Art
The College Student's Research Companion - Arlene Rodda Quaratiello; Jane Devine
Call Number: Z710 .Q37 2011
ISBN: 1555707297
Publication Date: 2010-11-01
Up-to-date guidance for using traditional and online sources. Students will learn to select a topic, effectively find and evaluate the best information in both print and electronic formats, and produce accurate and complete citations based on current versions of important styles guides and web resources. Written in an easy, breezy style and filled with real-world examples, illustrative diagrams, and screen shots, this is the ideal guide for anyone aspiring to write an excellent research paper on their own or following this text in a research skills or information literacy course.

Cover Art
The library instruction cookbook
Call Number: Z711.25.C65 L53 2009
A collection of practical approaches to library instruction, covering library orientation, basic library skills, citing references, plagiarism, evaluating resources, developing specialized research skills, and using technology.



Why do I Need to Evaluate a Website?

Many people believe that everything is on the World Wide Web. Big mistake! More importantly, even the sources that are on the World Wide Web are not always reliable. Remember, on the World Wide Web there are no editors to decide what can and cannot be posted. Anyone can put anything on the Web, but the information is not always useful or accurate.  Evaluating your resources is always important, but for websites, it is critical.


Online Resources

ABC's of Evaluating Websites


  • To whom is the site directed – children, adults, students; a certain ethnicity, gender or political affiliation?
  • Is it understandable by the layman, or is it highly technical requiring specialized knowledge?


  • Is the author of the site listed?
  • Can you determine his/her expertise?
  • Is contact information given – phone number, address, e-mail?
  • With what organization is he/she associated?


  • Does the language, tone, or treatment of its subject give the site a particular slant or bias?
  • Is the site objective?
  • Is it designed to sway opinion? Organizational affiliation can often indicate bias.


  • Is the site up-to-date with working links?
  • Are dates given for when it was created and last updated?
  • Is the topic current?


  • Is the site an in-depth study of the topic going several pages deep, or is it a superficial, single-page look at the subject?
  • Are statistics and sources referenced properly cited?
  • Does the site offer unique information not found anywhere else, e.g., print sources?

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Send your questions or comments to: Library Web Oversight Committee
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