Liberation: Using the Web

Evaluation of Web Sites: 10 Step Guide

1: Is the site relevant to your topic?
Look at what the site is actually about. Would it provide information useful to your research?
2: Does it have the name of the person or organization responsible for the information clearly visible?
Reliable information sources will make clear who is responsible for providing the information. Scroll down to the bottom of the main page if the name of a person or organization is not prominent.
3: Are contact details for a responsible individual or organization provided?
An email link, telephone or address details are often included at the bottom of a Web page and may be in very small type.
4: Is the site maintained by an individual/organization affiliated to an academic or governmental institution?
Academic institutions contain the abbreviation ac or edu in the URL. e.g. http://www.northampton.ac.uk (a UK site) or http://www.berkeley.edu (a US site.) Academic and governmental websites are usually reliable and useful sources of information.
5: Is there a statement about the purpose and coverage of the site's information?
This can usually be accessed from the site’s main page. It may be called 'About Us' or 'About This Site'.
6: Is the information promotional?
Does it appear to be advertising a product or service? If so, you should take this into consideration if you use the information.
7: Is the information copyrighted?
A copyright statement about how the information may be used is often included in websites. Check the main page of the website or the bottom of the page.
8: Is the date of the last update to the site included?
It is important that you can check a website is being updated. Update details are often included in small print at the foot of a web page.
9: Has the site been updated in the last three months?
Internet information may be outdated or inaccurate if it has not been updated regularly. Check the last time the site was updated, if a date is provided.
10: Is there an index or table of contents on the site?
An index or table of contents will help you to navigate a website. A link is often provided from the site's main page or at the top/bottom of each page.

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