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ENC 1101 (Dieckmann) - Compare-Contrast Two Local Non-Profit Organizations: Evaluating Web Sites

How to Evaluate a Web Page

Why Evaluate Web Sites?

For two very critical reasons:

  • Anyone can create his or her Web site and put anything on the Web.
  • Unlike traditional print sources, editors or fact-checkers do not check the facts in Web resources to ensure their accuracy. It is up to you to evaluate the accuracy of a Web site.

Use the five criteria listed in the column to the right,  and remember them by the helpful mnemonic device ABC³.  Ask yourself each of the questions given. If you find that not enough information is available to answer the questions, the site may not be credible.

 

Website Evaluation Tool

This tool will help you evaluate how trustworthy a website is.

Authority

Authority refers the question of "Who?" Who wrote this information? Who sponsored it? What are their credentials (or why should we trust them)?

Buzzle - The disclaimer at Buzzle states that they assume no liability or responsibility for error or omissions in their information!

Streisand Misquotes Shakespeare - The singer relied on a quote from the internet attributed to Shakespeare. The quote was written by an internet prankster.

Martin Luther King Jr.org - This site is hosted and sponsored by a white supremacist site and could easily fit in the biased category as well. Up until a few years ago, it appeared in the top results of a Google search on Martin Luther King Jr.

Bias

Bias refers to the question of "Why?" Why is this information given, and why is it given in this particular way? What is the author or sponsor's ultimate goal? Depending on its purpose, information can be very one-sided (to sway the reader's opinion), or it can be very objective.

Don't confuse bias with falsehood. Information can be completely true -- factually correct -- and yet still biased. Remember, the author may have left out some important details!

BP: Gulf of Mexico Restoration

Runners World: Why Running is Good For Your Joints

Currency

Currency refers to the question of "When?" When was this information written, and when was it last updated? Is it up-to-date, or has the topic changed since that time?

Content

Content refers to the question of "What?" What information is given? Is it relevant to your search? Is it scholarly or popular?

Consistency

Consistency is the comparison of this information with other sources. Does this information make sense with what you already know? Does it seem to match what other experts have to say? This can help you determine if the information is factually correct. 

Subject Guide

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Erich Heintzelman
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