Talk to a Librarian for a "best fit" evaluation tool.
Use one of the evaluation tools available at the library!
Before using information, ask yourself these questions:
Is the information relevant? How will I record it? How will I give credit to the source?
Consider the source:
- Who is the author? What are the author's credentials? Is this the author's original work or is it derived from other sources?
Consider the content:
- Is the information accurate? Is it verifiable? Is it truly relevant? Are there spelling and grammatical errors?
Consider the currency:
- When was the information published? When was it created or updated on the Web?
Consider the purpose, affiliation and bias:
- Who is the intended audience? What is the purpose?
- If Web-based, is the page associated with a company, university, government agency or other organization?
- Have you ever heard of the organization? It is it well respected and reliable?
- Does the author's affiliation with the organization appear to bias the information?
This mini-guide to common URLs, or endings of domain names can help you judge the validity of the information and potential bias of a website:
.com = commercial sites
.gov = U.S. government
.org = organization, often nonprofit (Note: some have strong bias and agendas)
.edu = school or university site (Note: the author may be a student or a scholar)
.store = retail business
.int = international institution
.mil = U.S. military site
.net = networked service provider, Internet administrative site
.museum = museum
.name = individual internet user
.pro = professional's site
Be suspicious of personal sites. They are not endorsed by the institution on whose server they reside. For example, a college student may post a personal website on their college's site.
Note: People can easily purchase domains that do not reflect their actual purpose.
SOURCE: Adapted with permission from Joyce Kasman Valenza. PowerTools Recharged