Skip to Main Content Library Homepage College Homepage
Research Guides

Evaluating Websites: How do I evaluate a website?

Guidance on evaluating whether a particular website is a good-quality source.

Ask a Librarian

Contact the Reference Desk

email Email
Chat Chat
smartphone Text (603) 556-8883
 phone Call (603) 641-7306
calendar Make an Appointment



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)
Additional Questions
  • 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?

Strategies to Use

Lateral Reading

Navigate away from the site itself, and see what other sources have to say about the website or organization. Even taking a look at the Wikipedia page can help!

Click Restraint

The first few search results aren't always the best or most helpful sources to use, so take some time to scroll through your results--even looking at the second page!--before you pick a few to click on.

For more on fact checking, see the Crash Course videos below, or see our Misinformation guide:

Crash Couse Navigating Digital Information

Crash Course's series Navigating Digital Information has a number of great videos explaining different aspects of evaluating information.

Overview Videos

Who is behind the information?

What is the evidence for their claims?

What do other sources say?