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 Webmaster (who maintains the site)
  • 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?
  • Compared with other similar sites that you have browsed, how effectively does this one convey its content and purpose to its intended audience?
  • 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 Web page 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?