Evaluate Information

Criteria for evaluating web-based resources

Accuracy Audience Author Content

What is the purpose of the site and why was it produced?

Is this person qualified to write this site?

Know the distinction between author (who created the content) and the person who maintains the site (like a Webmaster).

Who is the site's audience?

Are the language and format of the site appropriate to the stated or implied audience?

Who designed/authored the site?

What can you find out about the credentials or expertise of the designer/author?

What features of the site convince you that they know what they are talking about?

What features make you doubt their knowledge or expertise?

Check the domain of the document. What institution publishes this document?

When was the information on the site last updated?
Is it accurate?
Thorough?
Complete?
Misleading?
Is this appropriate?
Coverage Currency Effectiveness Objectivity

Is it all images or a balance of text and images?

Is the information presented cited correctly?

If page requires special software to view the information, how much are you missing if you don't have the software?

Is it free, or is there a fee, to obtain the information?

Is there an option for text only, or frames, or a suggested browser for better viewing?

When was it produced?
When was it updated?
Are there any dead links are on the page?
When was it produced?
When was it updated?
Are there any dead links are on the page?

How detailed is the information?

What opinions (if any) are expressed by the author(s)?

Determine if page is a mask for advertising; if so, information might be biased

View any webpage as you would an infommercial on television. Ask yourself why was this written and for whom?

What goals/objectives does this page meet

Purpose Source Other Considerations  
What is the purpose of the site? What kind of site is this (commercial, personal, government, educational, military)?
  • Aesthetic and affective aspects
  • Navigation within a document
  • Quality of the links
  • Site access and usability
 

Kapoun, Jim. "Teaching undergrads WEB evaluation, " C&RL News, July/August, 1998, 522-533.

Criteria for evaluating print resources

Accuracy Audience Author Content
Is this person qualified to write this information? Who is the target audience of the information?

Are the language and format of the print resource appropriate to the stated or implied audience?

What can you find out about the credentials or expertise of the author?

What features convince you that they know what they are talking about?

What features make you doubt their knowledge or expertise?

What institution publishes this information?

Is it accurate?

Thorough?

Complete?

Misleading?

Is this appropriate?

Coverage Objectivity Purpose  
Is the information presented cited correctly? What goals/objectives does this information meet?

How detailed is the information?

What opinions (if any) are expressed by the author(s)?

Determine if the information is a mask for advertising; if so, information might be biased

View any information as you would an infommercial on television.

Ask yourself why was this written and for whom?

What is the purpose of the information?