Evaluating websites

Website Evaluation Checklists
 

A large percentage of the information found on the internet has not gone through the editorial and /or peer review that magazine articles and published books do. The nature of the internet allows anyone with a computer and an internet connection to publish to the web and to communicate his thoughts, biases, and opinions via Web 2.0 internet sites. Therefore it is essential to know how to evaluate a website before it can be used in research papers.

Most authorities will discourage you from using information gleaned from a blog or a wiki. By the very nature of these types of sites, the information is more susceptible to bias, personal opinion and inaccurate, unsubstantiated information. When evaluating the information from a blog that you feel needs to be used in your research, look at it as critically, if not more, as you would any other information source you use from the internet. Before you use information from blogs or wikis in your research paper, check with your instructor.

The following checklists help you to look at websites, blogs and wikis critically to determine if the site you are looking at is a good one for your research purposes.

Click on the following links for the type of website you are evaluating:

WEBSITES
BLOGS
WIKIS


Use the following criteria to help you when looking at sites found on the web:

WEBSITES

Title of Site: ____________________________________________________________________________________

URL of Site: ____________________________________________________________________________________


Criteria Considerations Indicator:

Yes   No   Can't Tell

Authority

Who is responsible for the information?
Does this person’s job give him the knowledge to provide accurate information?

Is the author well known and well regarded in his field?

Is the page rated well in a directory?

 

 
Accuracy

What is on the site? Is the information correct?

 
Can the information be verified independently from another source?

Is there a bibliography that can be checked?

Are there obvious errors or inconsistencies in the information or grammar or spelling errors?

Does it contain links to other sources that support the information – “links”, “additional sites”, “related links”, or in-text links that are annotated?

 
 
Currency and Ease of Use


When was it created?
How easy is it to use?

 
When was the article published? Has it been recently updated?

Are there any dead links on the page?

Has information in the field drastically changed since this article was published?

Does the page open quickly and is it free of advertisements?

Are the pages appealing and free of clutter or distracting graphics?

If the site contains lots of information or several pages, is there a hot-linked table of contents, crumb trail or other navigational help?

 
 
Purpose and Domain



What representing body owns the site and why was the information placed on the web?

 
What is the URL extension and what does it mean? (.com, .gov, .edu, .org)

Is the representing body of the site a reputable organization/ person?

 Is the author of the article endorsed by the site’s owner? (Look for a tilde ~ or % in the URL. If it is there, the site does not endorse the author; it only provides a place for the author to publish the information.)

Is this a personal page or site? Is there bias?

Is the language use and level of vocabulary appropriate to the intended audience? Is this site age-appropriate for my research purposes?

Why was the page put on the web – inform, persuade, sell, satire or parody, other?

 
 
Usefulness of the information Am I confident enough in the author, the publishing agency and the seriousness and accuracy of the information found in this site to use it in my research paper?

Are the web page and the information on it appropriate for my research purposes?

Was the site worth visiting?

 

 
  My decision about using this site:
Rate it according to the criteria below

 
 


     Evaluation Criteria for your sites:
    15 or more Positive responses: Excellent site; use it.
    10 – 15 Positive responses: Good; consider using it if no better one is available.
    9 or fewer Positive responses: Poor site; look for another one.

Top
  
 

BLOGS

Title of Site: ____________________________________________________________________________________

URL of Site: ____________________________________________________________________________________


Criteria Considerations Indicator:

Yes   No   Can't Tell

Authority


Who is responsible for the information?

 

Who is the blogger/ person responsible for the blog? Blog postings should be signed by an identifiable author.

Is this person qualified to give information on this subject? How do you know?

 
 
Purpose


Why was the information placed on the web?

 

Why does the blog exist?


For what purpose was the blog established - educational purposes, entertainment, socializing …?

 

 
Accuracy and Reliability of the Info.
 

Can I be sure the information is correct and not biased?
 

Is the information the blogger’s opinion or fact

What kind of material is the blogger reading or citing?

Is the content covered in any depth, with any authority?

Are there links to support what this person says? Do these links lead to reliable sites or to another blog/ blogger?

Is the blogger honest about his/her bias? Does the blog discuss/ allow other points of view?

 
 
Currency


Is the blog active and are the posts up-to-date?

 

Is the blog alive with a substantial archive?


How current are the posts?


At what point in the story’s life did the post appear?

 

 

Is this a good site to use for your research? Why?

Top

 

WIKIS

Title of Site: ____________________________________________________________________________________

URL of Site: ____________________________________________________________________________________

Criteria Considerations Indicator:

Yes   No   Can't Tell

Authority


Who is responsible for the information?

 

Who began the wiki? Check out the sponsorship of the wiki.

How many people appear to be responsible for the information?

 
 
Purpose


Why was the information placed on the web?

 

What is the purpose of this collaborative project?

Does this suit your needs for your research paper?

 
 
Accuracy and Reliability of the Info.


Can I be sure the information is correct and not biased?

 

Does the information appear to be accurate? Does the information you are interested in provide cites to sources you can use to check the information? Can you validate the information through other independent sources (triangulation)?

Is the information improved by having a variety of participants contributing to the site?

Are there guidelines for the contributors to follow? Can you determine if there is monitoring of the content and who is responsible for the task?

How heavily edited are the pages you plan to use? Are the edits reasonable and substantially improve the information there?

 
 
Currency
 

Is the wiki active and are the posts up-to-date?
 

Does the project appear to be alive?


Are contributors continuing to edit the information?

 

 

Is this a good site to use for your research? Why?

Top


  Types of Websites

Basic website types: Their purpose, scope and structure

Commercial Website

The purpose of this type of website is to sell products or services. Commercial websites are used for promoting a business or service and are among the most common type of website on the internet. The Internet address often ends with .com.
http://www.rocketface.com/types_of_websites/commercial_website.html
 

Personal Website

The purpose of this type of website is to provide information about an individual or group. This type of website is run by an individual or a small group (such as a family) that contains information or any content that the individual wishes to include. The Internet address has a variety of endings.
http://www.rocketface.com/types_of_websites/personal_website.html  

 

Organizational Website
 
The purpose of this type of website is to advocate an individual’s opinion or a group’s point of view. A website where persons with similar interests communicate with each other, usually by chat or message boards. The Internet address often ends with .org.
http://www.rocketface.com/types_of_websites/organizational_website.html

 

Educational Website
 
The purpose of this type of website is to provide information about an educational establishment or to present information in an educational manner. The Internet address ends in .edu.
http://www.rocketface.com/types_of_websites/educational_website.html

 

Entertainment Website
 
The purpose of this type of website is to entertain and provide amusement. The Internet address often ends with .com.
http://www.rocketface.com/types_of_websites/entertainment_website.html

 

News Website
 
The purpose of this type of website is to provide information about current events, dedicated to dispensing news and commentary. The Internet address often ends with .com.
http://www.rocketface.com/types_of_websites/news_website.html



Definitions for the different types of websites from:
DeFazzio, Gene. Rocketface®Workshop: How to Design a Website. 2010. Web. 6 July 2010.


Back

Beirut, Lebanon

International College
P.O. Box 113-5373 Hamra
Bliss Street
Beirut, Lebanon
Tel/Fax: 961-1-362-500/1
ICLB@ic.edu.lb

New York, USA

International College
215 Park Avenue South, Suite 1710
New York, NY 10003, USA
Tel: 1-212-529-3005
Fax: 1-213-529-8525
ICNY@ic.edu.lb

cis
powered by finalsite