Evaluating Web Resources

People often assume that any information they find on a computer is correct. This is a dangerous assumption regarding the Internet, where anyone can publish any information they like, without editorial intervention. Some information may be perfectly reliable, but other information may range from out-of-date, unreliable and inaccurate to biased, misleading or deliberately false.

Pointers for conducting research on the Web:

Criteria to use for Evaluating a Site:

Content

Is the subject content relevant and appropriate to my students' learning needs?

Coverage

What is the scope of this resource? Does it cover all aspects of the topic, with valid and appropriate examples?

Accuracy

Are the information and the presentation accurate, or could they be misleading?

Authority

Is it clear who is responsible for the resource, and all that is in it? Is this author an expert on this subject? Are links to other Web sites acknowledged?

Objectivity

Is the information well balanced or can I detect some prejudice or bias? Is the perspective appropriately bicultural or multicultural, non-sexist, non-racist, or how can I redress the balance?

Currency

Is the date of publication or update available and acceptable?

Presentation

Is the resource appealing? Is it clearly and logically presented? (And for online use, there are many more considerations, eg. Is the information accessible and the site easily navigable? Is it unencumbered by advertising or other diversions?)

Usability

Will this be useful for my students? How will I give them access to it?

Useful heuristics for selecting pages from search results:

For further information on evaluating Web resources, and more detailed evaluation checklists, see:

Some of this information has been adapted from a tutorial written by Lorna Davidson.