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)



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


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


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


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


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

Scholarly vs. nonscholarly

At some point in your time at Marygrove, your professors will ask you to locate scholarly articles for an assignment. Make sure you know what that means! Take a look at the comparison table and examples below, or watch this video (1:32) courtesy of Rebeca Befus at Wayne State University.

Scholarly articles
(also called 'academic' or 'peer-reviewed')

Nonscholarly articles
(also called 'popular')
  • are intended for a professional audience in a particular field and usually appear in specialized publications; they are usually written in technical or academic language
  • are intended for a general audience and appear in newspapers and general interest magazines
  • give a highly focused, in-depth treatment of the subject matter at hand and usually report on research or best practices in the profession
  • usually do not go in-depth on the topic at hand and are broader in scope
  • are written by experts in a particular field; the qualifications of the author (degrees or titles held) should be noted, usually on the first or last page of the article; also, the author should be associated with an appropriate institution, such as a university, government agency, or educational organization
  • are usually written by professional writers who may have no special qualifications in the subject area on which they are writing; the author’s name may not even be included
  • are well documented and contain footnotes or references
  • usually do not offer footnotes or reference
  • are usually quite long (10 pages or more)
  • are normally not longer than 4-5 pages.

Writing Center

The Geschke Writing Center is available to all students and is located in the lower level of the Liberal Arts building. Please call 313.927.1278 to make an appointment.

Fall 2014 hours (September 15-December 6):

Mondays: 10 am - 6 pm
Tuesdays: 12 pm - 7 pm
Wednesdays: 10 am - 6 pm
Thursdays: 12 pm - 7 pm
Saturdays:  12 pm - 3 pm

Faculty: If you would like your students to use this service, please notify them at the beginning of the term. Send a copy of your syllabus, along with any written directions for specific assignments, to the Writing Center. We would greatly appreciate samples of well-written papers if you have copies.

Students: You must make an appointment to receive writing assistance. Please bring a copy of your syllabus, directions for writing the paper, and, if possible, a first draft of the paper. You can also receive assistance prior to the first draft if appropriate to the assignment.

You may receive assistance in the following areas:

Developing manageable topics for papers
Developing a focus or thesis for a paper
Organizing a paper and making sure it is unified and coherent
Adequately developing a paper
Controlling style in terms of the audience and purpose of the paper
Gaining control over mechanical errors
Conducting the research process
Properly documenting and formatting a paper in a specific discipline
Completing specific types of written assignments given in individual courses

More Articles ...

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