When finding information on
the World Wide Web, it is important to evaluate
a Web site in order to determine whether it is a credible,
reliable source to use for research purposes. You can
evaluate the quality of a Web site by asking yourself
the following questions:
1. Purpose & Content
- What type of site is this? (i.e.,
(.org), educational (.edu),
- What is the purpose of
this site? (i.e., to inform, to entertain, to advertise,
- What kind of information
is the site providing? Is the information presented
objective or biased?
- Who created this page? Does the
site even indicate who the author is? What are the
author's qualifications or area(s) of expertise?
- Is there a link to a
"Mission Statement" or an
"About Our Organization" page? The information
provided on such pages can indicate to you what side
of an issue a particular organization is on, or help
you to understand a company's values and principles,
- Is there contact
information available from the site? Sometimes
contacting someone directly, whether by phone or by
email, is the best way to get specific information
you may need, or to get recommendations for other
resources you might consult to get further information.
- When was the site last
updated or revised? (Most important
for topics that are subject to change frequently.)
Is the site well-maintained, or are there many
broken links, errors, etc.? A quality site will be
well-maintained and updated as necessary.
- Is the site well-organized
and easy to use? Can you find the information you
need? Is the site slow to load or difficult to read?
Sites that are not well-designed or organized my not
be worth your time spent using them for research purposes,
and, futhermore, may be unreliable resources.
Libraries often link to quality
Web sites from their home pages. For example, the Loyola/Notre
Dame Library links to Web sites on each subject page
(use the scrolling Resources by Subject menu
on the library's
home page to choose a topic). Another good source
of quality Web sites is Librarians'
Index to the Internet. These Web sites generally
have already been evaluated by a librarian and selected
as being good sources for particular subject areas or
research needs. So, in a sense, the evaluative work
has already been done for you. You can freely use these
Web sites knowing that they are reliable sources. Still,
you should evaluate even these sites to determine whether
they are appropriate for your specific purpose.
For more on this topic, see UC Berkeley's
Evaluating Web Pages: How and Why