skip navigation

Florida Gulf Coast University

Website Directory  

FGCU Library Services

 

QUICK GUIDE TO EVALUATING WEBSITES

 Author
(Authority)

  • Who is the author?
  • What are the author's credentials?
  • Check for the author's name in the site's header or footer.
  • Look for a biography or resume for the author.
  • Check for links to the site's Home page, About Us.
  • Check author's affiliation:  organization, government agency, or college/university?
  • Check through the sponsor's or Web designer's e-mail address to obtain information about the author.
  • Check through links to the site's Home page, About Us

 Site's Sponsor/     Publisher

  • Who is the site's sponsor?
  • The last three letters of the URL can give you a clue about the site's sponsor.

    .com  = commercial businesses
    .net   =  network related organizations
    .org  =  nonprofit groups
    .edu  =  educational institutions
    .gov  =  U S government agencies
    .mil   =  US military

  • Check the site's header or footer.
  • Check for links to the site's Home page, About Us.
  • Check the site's domain through its Web address (URL)

 Purpose

  • What is the purpose of the resource?
  •  Who is its intended audience?
  • Inform: popular subject or scholarly
  • General audience
  • Persuade:  balanced or biased
  • Informed reader
  • Entertain
  • Scholar
  • Sell a product
  • Professional in the field

 Accuracy

  • Is the information accurate?

 

  • Does the author refer to other works?
  • Does the author support his/her arguments?
  • Look for a bibliography (references) that is included in the Web site.
  • Is the information refereed/peer reviewed?

 Timeliness

  • When was the source published?
  • Is the information still relevant?
  • Look for the date of publication in the web site's  header or footer. 
  • When was the site last revised?

 Suitability

  • Does the resource have the information you need?
  • Is the material written at a level you can understand?
  • Does the site have a table of contents.
  • Is the information too general?
  • Read through some of the text.
  • Is the information too technical?

 Uniqueness

  • Is the information available elsewhere in print or electronic format?

 

 

WEB SITES  FOR EVALUATING INTERNET INFORMATION

Five Criteria for Evaluating Web Pages
http://www.library.cornell.edu/okuref/research/webcrit.html
Provides criteria, in outline form, for evaluating web-obtained information.

Criteria for Evaluation of Internet Information Resources
http://www.vuw.ac.nz/~agsmith/evaln/index.htm
The site provides "tools" for evaluating internet resources.

Critical Evaluation of  Resources
http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/TeachingLib/Guides/Evaluation.html
The site provides a range of indicators (audience, suitablility, authority, documentation, timeliness.)  for evaluating resources such as websites, books, and journal articles.

Good, The Bad & The Ugly - or - Why It's a Good Idea to Evaluate Web Sources.
http://lib.nmsu.edu/instruction/evalcrit.html
The site provides evaluation criteria in a check-off list.

FOR FURTHER INVESTIGATION

How to Critically Analyze Information Sources
http://www.library.cornell.edu/okuref/research/skill26.htm     
Oriented towards traditional print information sources.

World Wide Web Virtual Library: Evaluation of Information Sources
http://www.vuw.ac.nz/~agsmith/evaln/evaln.htm  
Links to most of the sites listed here as well as others.

SEARCH TIPS
  1. In formulating a search, it is helpful to make a list of keywords that relate to the topic. A search engine may not respond to your keyword because it does not appear in the text. Try another term with the same meaning. If that doesn't work, trying another search engine should be considered.
  2. Be aware of words with more than one meaning: Turkey (country) and turkey (bird).
  3. When using lowercase text, many search engines find both uppercase and lowercase results.When using uppercase text, many search engines return mainly uppercase results. This is so for Altavista, Lycos, Google and other popular search engines.
  4. Some search engines such as Altavista and Go.com allow Natural Language searches: What is acid  rain, what causes acid rain?
  5. Using quotation marks at the beginning and end of a phrase narrows the search: "Americans with Disability Act". If the search is carried out without quotation marks, the search engine will return hits for American, Disability and Act.  
  6. *Boolean operators, AND, OR, NOT, are yet another way of taking control of search results.  Using AND instructs the search tool to look for documents containing both words.  Using OR instructs the search tool to look for documents that contain one term or the other, or both.  Using NOT instructs the search tool to look for documents containing one of the search terms but not the other. *Not all search engines support Boolean operators.
  7. Some search engines allow math commands (+ -). To be sure that a word is always included in a search, a plus sign (+) is placed in front of the keyword;   to be sure that a word is excluded, a minus sign (-) is placed in front of the keyword.
  8. Wildcards: Some search engines allow the use of a wildcard. Typing an asterisk (*) at the end of a keyword, allows searching for multiple forms of the word.  Searching bact* results in returns containing the words bacteria, bacterimia, bacteriophage, bacterial, bactericidal, bacteriology.