Evaluating World Wide Web Resources

How can you qualify sources found by searching the Internet?

purple world globe
What's out there?

There are many different sources of information from Web pages on the Internet. They include: Who can you trust?

Some sources are reliable, authoritative, verifiable, objective and current. Some are not. That makes it of critical importance to evaluate Web resources.

There are five criteria that can be used in evaluating sources of information found on the Internet:
  1. Accuracy
    • Is the information error free?
    • Is the information independently verifiable?
    • Are the sources of the information cited?
    • Is the method by which the information was gathered described and appropriate?
  2. Authority
    • Who is supplying the information and are they qualified to do so?
    • Is the author easily ascertained?
    • Has the author received quality training in this field?
    • Has the author been published previously in the field?
    • Is the document published or endorsed by a reputable organization?
    • Are the information sources cited in the document reputable?
  3. Objectivity
    • Is the information free of bias?
    • Does the purpose of the document not include advertising?
    • Is the document not devoted to a single political or ideological position?
    • Does the document consider various theories, schools of thought or techniques of the field?
    • Is the document's tone and style free of extreme or emotional language?
  4. Currency
    • Is the information current in the topic field?
    • Is the date apparent when the original document was created?
    • Is the information not out of date?
  5. Coverage
    • Are all relevant facets of the subject covered?
    • Has any important information been left out?
    • Does the document go to an appropriate level of detail?
    • Are relevant aspects of the topic covered appropriately?
    • Are there appropriate links or references to other resources?
    • Is the document more than just an introduction, quick facts or fast reference for the topic?
Learn more about evaluating Web sources
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© 2012 Dr. Anthony Curtis, Mass Communication Dept., University of North Carolina at Pembroke    email    home page