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4.2: Evaluating Websites for Quality

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    The Internet has provided students with unprecedented research opportunities, but writers should proceed with caution when choosing potential sources to consult and cite. The following chart offers some criteria to consider as you evaluate a website’s reliability:


    • Who published this information, and is the author’s name available?
    • What gives this person or organization the authority to address this topic?
    • If an author is identified, does he or she have any credentials listed (degrees, titles, publications, professional affiliations, work experience)?


    • What is the nature of the content at this site?
    • What sources are listed/used?
    • Is the material carefully edited? Is the writing professional?


    • When was this material published?
    • When was this site last updated?


    • Where is this domain name taking you? Is it connected to a college or university (.edu)? Is it a government site, such as the Library of Congress (
    • Where do the links take you?


    • Why does this site exist? Is it trying to sell you something? Is it trying to inform, persuade, or recruit you?
    • Does the writing rely mostly on facts or opinions?

    Exercise \(\PageIndex{1}\)

    Using your search engine, enter a topic that might yield varied results: abortion, 9-11 conspiracy theories, Barack Obama’s birth certificate, climate change, welfare recipients, vaccines, school prayer, cloning, terrorism, animal testing, the Holocaust, HIV-AIDS, the Kennedy assassination, UFOs, aliens, border control, immigration reform, gun control, weight-loss pills, the Confederate flag, etc. Find two websites— one that is questionable, the other that is credible.

    This page titled 4.2: Evaluating Websites for Quality is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Frost & Samra et al..

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