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Library Research Help: Evaluating Websites

Learn how to use Library resources during the research process.

Reasons for Using Websites

  1. Convenient 
  2. Fast way to find information via search engines
  3. Current
  4. Information from government agencies, corporate offices, and advocacy groups
  5. Cat videos and dog shaming 

Website Evaluation Guide

Instructions: To make this Prezi work, select the "Start Prezi" in the middle of the screen. Use the arrows to move to the next screen or go back a screen. You may make the Prezi full screen, or zoom in and out with the arrows on the right, or using the scroll button on your mouse. 

The ABCD of Website Evaluation Chart

This chart will  help you walk through the evaluation. It helps you look for certain things for each letter, tells you why you should evaluate, and what you should look for when evaluating. 

ABCD of Website Evaluation Chart

Steps to Evaluate Websites

Step 1: Check the URL and domain extensions

Step 2: Perform the ABCD evaluation

Step 3: After the ABCD evaluation is performed, if the website is found to be credible, decide if the website is relevant to your topic and if you should use it. 

Domain Extensions

One of the first things to do is look at the website's URL domain ending. Domains .edu, .gov, and .org are generally thought to be the best for credible information. Just remember that .org is a domain that is no longer used by only non-profit organizations and .edu webpages can be created by students from a college or university who have no real expertise in the field they are discussing. Make sure you evaluate the website further than the domain endings.

.com  commercial business or for-profit organizations

.gov   United States government agencies

.edu   educational institutions

.mil    United States military organizations

.org    non-profit organizations

The ABCD of Website Evaluation: What to Look For

Authority

Who is the author? What are the author's credentials?  Does the author have expertise in the area? Is the author associated with a reputable organization? 

Bias

Is the information balanced? Is it more opinion than fact? Is the page a presentation of facts or designed to sway opinion? Is a product, service, or idea being sold?

Currency

When was the page last updated? Are any links dead? Is the information consistent with your knowledge in the subject?

Documentation

Is information documented with references? Are the facts given supported with evidence? If statistics are provided, what is the source? Is the page free of spelling mistakes or other obvious mistakes?