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Websites can have their place in the world of academia, but with countless websites with varying quality and agendas in your search results, it's important to be able to determine whether sites are reliable or appropriate to scholarship or a personal research need.
This takes practice and critical thinking. This guide lists some questions that you should ask yourself before accepting or rejecting a website for its scholarly value. If in doubt about the merits of a website for research purposes, please discuss it with your instructor or a librarian.
Things to Think about When Evaluating Websites
Quick Set of Questions
- Who is behind the information?
- What is the evidence?
- What do other sources say? (about the topic, and about who is behind this source)
- What website is the source part of? What is the purpose and audience of that website?
- What information can you find about the overall website/organization elsewhere (from other websites)?
- Who wrote it? What are the author's credentials?
- Where did the author get the information they present in the source? Do they seem to be conveying it accurately based on the other sources you're looking at?
- Is the information in the source recent/up-to-date?
- What are the overall strengths or limitations?