Evaluating Web Sites

Why do I need to evaluate web sites?
The information contained in books, magazine and newspaper articles or encyclopedias are usually checked for accuracy by editors before publication.  This is often not true of information found on the Internet. Anyone can create a web site.  Anyone can post to a newsgroup.  So how do you know whether a site you've just discovered is a reliable source?

How can I decide whether the information is reliable?
First, check the source of the information. Who sponsors the site? Is it a school or university? A company? A nonprofit organization? An individual person? Next, decide what the sponsor's purpose is. Are they trying to sell you something? Convince you of their point of view? Provide unbiased information? Also, check to see how current the information is and when the site was last updated. Try this checklist from Infopeople or this list of questions to ask from UC Berkeley.

Where else can I find information about evaluating web sites?

The ABC's of Web Site Evaluation has links, activities, and sample sites to try.

New Mexico State Univerity offers a checklist.

Cornell University has a page packed with criteria and tools.

The Oregon Public Education network offers an online form for scoring web sites.

For teachers, Kathy Schrock offers an abundance of resources on critical evaluation.