Evaluating websites

Use the questions and criteria in the table below to assess the quality and accuracy of a website. Consider both the individual scores and the total score when deciding whether or not to use a website as a source for your research.

Printable website evaluation rubric (pdf)

  Ideal
3
Questionable
2
Unacceptable
1
SCORE

Authorship:

Who made the site?

Author is clearly identified and has either expertise or credentials relating to the topic. For an organizational site, an "About Us" area provides additional infor-mation about the organization. A named author whose credentials are weak or unclear. No author is named and/or no credentials are given. ___ / 3

Ownership:

What is the domain?

The domain is .edu, posted by an educational institution, or the domain is .gov The domain is .com, .net, or .org and is posted by a well-known organization or company. The domain is .net, .com, or .edu but is a personal page or .com with ads and pop-ups. ___ / 3

Accuracy:

Where did the author get his/her information?

The author includes lists of sources, links to related sites, and/or describes their research methods. Photos include credits. The author provides a general statement about the source of information but doesn't include specific sources. The author provides no sources or provides only sources that can't be verified or are suspicious. ___ / 3

Currency:

When was the site created or updated?

The information is up to date, with a clear date marker (copyright or “last updated”). The links work. The sources cited are current. The site is three or fewer years old according to the creation or revision date. No date is given or the dates provided are more than five years ago. ___ / 3

Purpose:

Why did the author make this site?

The author made the site to give accurate, factual information for researchers.  There is no obvious bias or agenda.
The authors express an opinion, or display an obvious bias or agenda, with factual information to support their point of view. The authors want to sell a product or persuade readers to change their beliefs; the purpose is personal or for entertainment only. ___ / 3
TOTAL SCORE ___ / 15

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