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Reference: Evaluate Web Resources

Evaluating Web Resources

Audience and Purpose 

Consider the audience and purpose of the resource. Can you identify the audience based on content, tone or style? Is the site for entertainment, business, communication, or information? Does it meet your needs?

Consider the Source 

Search engines or guides often produce hundreds to thousands of results, from ads to full-text, scholarly documents. Many of the items will not be useful for your research.

Authorship (Intellectual Responsibility) 

The author or producer of the information must be clearly identified in the source. Remember that an author may be an individual, a group of individuals, an institution, a corporation, a committee, a government agency, etc. You must ascertain the credibility of the author.

Content and Accuracy 

Don't always take the information presented at face value. Internet sites are rarely refereed or reviewed, as are scholarly journals and books. Look for...

    • point of view
    • evidence of bias

The source of the information should be clearly stated, whether original or borrowed from elsewhere (as in footnotes in a book or journal article).


Depth of information: determine if the content covers a specific time period or aspect of the topic, or strives to be comprehensive. Use additional print and electronic sources to complement the information provided.


Has the information been updated recently, as reflected in the date on the page?


Are links (hyperlinks) to other sources or sites relevant? Do they actually connect?

Style and Functionality 

Is the site laid out clearly and logically with well-organized subsections? Is the writing style appropriate for the intended audience? Is the site easy to navigate?