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Web Page Evaluation Criteria

Separating fact from fiction

yin-yang
 

Can You Trust Information You Find on the Internet?

Lack of quality control is one of the drawbacks of the internet. This means that anyone who has a computer connected to the internet and wants to make his/her information or opinion available can publish to the web. Because there are no restrictions, guidelines, or review processes for contributions to the web, the quality, accuracy, validity, and authority of the contributed information varies wildly.

 

Apply your critical thinking skills

Use your ability to judge the usefulness, validity and reliability of the information you uncover. The following criteria are a set of questions and/or principles that act as a benchmark to evaluate information.

Not all web sites are equally valuable or credible.   

 

 

1. Coverage

Is the content of the web page focused on the topic?

audience appropriate
 

Relevant

Is the content of the web page specific to the topic of your interest? Or does it cover a variety of (too many) topics that are not relevant?  That is to say, is the page designed to trick search engines (Google, Bing, Safari) by including other commonly searched topics (keywords)?

Adequate

Does the web page information adequately cover the topic: is it too general or too detailed?

 

Audience appropriate

Is the content intended for children, scholars, general public? Was the page written to inform, educate, entertain (parody).

 

Primary or secondary account (original or synthesized?)

Does the page offer original (primary) information not covered elsewhere? Is this page a synthesis (combination) of other people's (secondary) accounts or writings? Is this the best page to use, or does another page contain or summarize and present this information in a better way?

 

 

 

 

 

2. Authority on the Topic

Who is responsible for the website?

author
 

Author of site

Is there an author named on the page? Is the author qualified? If not, then…

Sponsor of site

Is there a sponsor? Is the sponsor qualified? (i.e. Is there an "about us" or "our mission" link?)   If not, then…

Link or contact Information

Is the author or sponsor's name, e-mail, postal address listed? If not, then…

 

Clues to page's origin

Is there any other way to determine the page's author(s)? (header, footer, URL or domain name)

Is the URL associated with a university or reputable organization?

Does the domain name indicate .edu → educational institution; .org → non-profit organization; .gov → governmental body? (Useful for determining origin only. Reputable information can also be found on: .com → commercial enterprise; .net → Internet)

 

 

 

 

3. Objectivity

Is the purpose of the website clear, including any particular viewpoint?

man looking thru magnifying glass

 

Bias

Does the page/site show minimal signs of bias: political, ideological, personal, or cultural?

Intent

Does the page present factual information or is it designed to sway opinion?

Influence

If the site is sponsored or underwritten by advertising, is the writing free of bias supporting the sponsors?

 

 

 

 

 

4. Accuracy

Is the information on the website accurate?

bulls-eye

 

Factual

Does the author give factual information?

Documented / well-researched

Does the author cite his/her sources? Is the research methodology explained?

Subject to verification

Can the information be verified by additional resources in print or on the web, such as snopes.com (rumors), an intergovernmental organization un.org (government statistics), a developmental policy organization unicef.org (statistics). 

Use your library's online databases for access to academic writing.

Corroborated 

Are links and resource citations included that support claims made on the site? (secondary confirmation)

Collaborative

Is a committee or editor named who reviews the content or verifies facts. (cooperatively developed)

 

 

 

 

5. Currency

Is the information on the website current?

date

 

Date-stamped

Is there a "last updated" notation or evidence of recent changes?   If not, then…

Seemingly current

Does the information seem current to you? Do news events, conference events or any bits information lead you to believe the page has been updated recently?   If not, then…

Linked currently

Are the links still working? Do pages turn up with "this site has moved" or "page not found"?

 

 

 

 

Web Page Evaluation

Resources

 

Evaluation Criteria Form - Form download  

The above form can be used to evaluate web sites when doing research. It was adapted from others below.

 

Other Evaluation Strategies

 

 

 

 

Practice

Evaluate Resource #1

 

 

 

Read and evaluate the following link

Fueul, Dr. Juatta Lyon. "The True but Little Known Facts about Women and AIDS." U of Santa Anita, 2014, 216.92.161.155/research/AIDSFACTS.htm.

Control-click the link to open it in a new browser window. (Place the windows side by side to work more easily.)

 

 

Evaluate

  1. Decide whether the page meets the evaluation criteria (a standard for judgment).
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the check button to the left.

 

1.
Coverage of  "The True but Little Known Facts about Women and AID

Relevant—Do the topics covered include your topic? Does the page cover a variety of (too many) topics or is it focused on one relevant topic?

Adequate—Does the page information adequately cover your topic: is it too general or too detailed?

Audience appropriate—Is the content intended for children, scholars, general public? Was the page written to inform, educate, entertain (parody).

Primary or secondary account (original or regurgitated?)—Does the page offer original (primary) information not covered elsewhere? Is this page a synthesis of other people's (secondary) accounts / writings? Is this the best page to cite, or does another page contain/summarize this information and present it in a better way

     


2.
Authority   "The True but Little Known Facts about Women and AID

Author of site— Is there an author named on the page? Is the author qualified?

Sponsor of site—Is there a sponsor? Is the sponsor qualified? (i.e. Is there an "about us" or "our mission" link?)

Link or contact Information—Is the author or sponsor's name, e-mail, postal address listed?

Clues to page's origin—Is there any other way to determine the page's author(s)? (header, footer, URL or domain name?

     


3.
Objectivity  "The True but Little Known Facts about Women and AID

Bias—Does the page/site show minimal signs of bias: political, ideological, personal, or cultural?

Intent—Does the page present factual information or is it designed to sway opinion?

Influence—Is the site is sponsored or underwritten by advertising, is the writing free of bias supporting the sponsor?

     


4.
Accuracy  "The True but Little Known Facts about Women and AID

Factual—Does the author give factual information?

Documented / well-researched—Does the author cite his/her sources? Is the research methodology explained?

Subject to verification—Can the information be verified by additional resources in print or on the Web?

Corroborated—Are links and resource citations included (possibly using MLA citation format.)

Collaborative—Is a committee or editor named who reviews the content or verifies facts

     


5.
Currency   "The True but Little Known Facts about Women and AID

Date-stamped—Is there a "last updated" notation or evidence of recent changes?

Seemingly current—Does the information seem current to you? Do news events, conference events or any bits information lead you to believe the page has been updated recently?

Linked currently—Are the links still working? Do pages turn up with "this site has moved" or "page not found"

     


 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 2

Evaluate Resource #2

 

 

 

Read and evaluate the following link

"Children and HIV and AIDS–How does HIV and AIDS affect girls and women?" UNICEF, 22 Feb. 2008, unicef.org/aids/index_hivaids_girls_women.html. Accessed on 6 Jan. 2014.

Control-click the link to open it in a new browser window. (Place the windows side by side to work more easily.)

 

 

Evaluate

  1. Decide whether the page meets the evaluation criteria (a standard for judgment).
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the check button to the left.

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs360/en/index.html

6.
Coverage    "Children and HIV and AIDS–How does HIV and AIDS affect girls and women?"

Relevant—Do the topics covered include your topic? Does the page cover a variety of (too many) topics or is it focused on one relevant topic?

Adequate—Does the page information adequately cover your topic: is it too general or too detailed?

Audience appropriate—Is the content intended for children, scholars, general public? Was the page written to inform, educate, entertain (parody).

Primary or secondary account (original or regurgitated?) -- Does the page offer original (primary) information not covered elsewhere? Is this page a synthesis of other people's (secondary) accounts / writings? Is this the best page to cite, or does another page contain/summarize this information and present it in a better way

     


7.
Authority     "Children and HIV and AIDS–How does HIV and AIDS affect girls and women?"

Author of site—Is there an author named on the page? Is the author qualified?

Sponsor of site—Is there a sponsor? Is the sponsor qualified? (i.e. Is there an "about us" or "our mission" link?)

Link or contact Information—Is the author or sponsor's name, e-mail, postal address listed?

Clues to page's origin—Is there any other way to determine the page's author(s)? (header, footer, URL or domain name?

     


8.
Objectivity     "Children and HIV and AIDS–How does HIV and AIDS affect girls and women?"

Bias—Does the page/site show minimal signs of bias: political, ideological, personal, or cultural?

Intent—Does the page present factual information or is it designed to sway opinion?

Influence—Is the site is sponsored or underwritten by advertising, is the writing free of bias supporting the sponsor?

     


9.
Accuracy     "Children and HIV and AIDS–How does HIV and AIDS affect girls and women?"

Factual—Does the author give factual information?

Documented / well-researched—Does the author cite his/her sources? Is the research methodology explained?

Subject to verification—Can the information be verified by additional resources in print or on the Web?

Corroborated—Are links and resource citations included (possibly using MLA citation format.)

Collaborative—Is a committee or editor named who reviews the content or verifies facts

     


10.
Currency     "Children and HIV and AIDS–How does HIV and AIDS affect girls and women?"

Date-stamped—Is there a "last updated" notation or evidence of recent changes?

Seemingly current—Does the information seem current to you? Do news events, conference events or any bits information lead you to believe the page has been updated recently?

Linked currently—Are the links still working? Do pages turn up with "this site has moved" or "page not found"

     


 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 3

Evaluate Resource #3

 

 

 

Read and evaluate the following link. (This one may surprise you!)

Crowe, David et al. "VirusMyth: a rethinking AIDS website. 2 Feb 2013. Web. 6 Jan 2014. <http://www.virusmyth.com/aids/ >.

Control-click the link to open it in a new browser window. (Place the windows side by side to work more easily.)

 

Evaluate

  1. Decide whether the page meets the evaluation criteria (a standard for judgment).
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the check button to the left.

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs360/en/index.html

11.
Coverage  " HIV & AIDS VirusMyth: a rethinking AIDS"

Relevant—Do the topics covered include your topic? Does the page cover a variety of (too many) topics or is it focused on one relevant topic?

Adequate—Does the page information adequately cover your topic: is it too general or too detailed?

Audience appropriate—Is the content intended for children, scholars, general public? Was the page written to inform, educate, entertain (parody).

Primary or secondary account (original or regurgitated?) -- Does the page offer original (primary) information not covered elsewhere? Is this page a synthesis of other people's (secondary) accounts / writings? Is this the best page to cite, or does another page contain/summarize this information and present it in a better way

     


12.
Authority   " HIV & AIDS VirusMyth: a rethinking AIDS"

Author of site—Is there an author named on the page? Is the author qualified?

Sponsor of site—Is there a sponsor? Is the sponsor qualified? (i.e. Is there an "about us" or "our mission" link?)

Link or contact Information—Is the author or sponsor's name, e-mail, postal address listed?

Clues to page's origin—Is there any other way to determine the page's author(s)? (header, footer, URL or domain name?

     


13.
Objectivity   " HIV & AIDS VirusMyth: a rethinking AIDS"

Bias—Does the page/site show minimal signs of bias: political, ideological, personal, or cultural?

Intent—Does the page present factual information or is it designed to sway opinion?

Influence—Is the site is sponsored or underwritten by advertising, is the writing free of bias supporting the sponsor?

     


14.
Accuracy   " HIV & AIDS VirusMyth: a rethinking AIDS"

Factual—Does the author give factual information?

Documented / well-researched—Does the author cite his/her sources? Is the research methodology explained?

Subject to verification—Can the information be verified by additional resources in print or on the Web?

Corroborated—Are links and resource citations included (possibly using MLA citation format.)

Collaborative—Is a committee or editor named who reviews the content or verifies facts

     


15.
Currency   " HIV & AIDS VirusMyth: a rethinking AIDS"

Date-stamped—Is there a "last updated" notation or evidence of recent changes?

Seemingly current—Does the information seem current to you? Do news events, conference events or any bits information lead you to believe the page has been updated recently?

Linked currently—Are the links still working? Do pages turn up with "this site has moved" or "page not found"