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Checklist for Evaluating Web Pages

Evaluating Resources Checklist

Domain Types and What They Mean

When browsing websites on the internet, pay attention to the domain type at the end of a company/website link - this information can give you a good sense of what to expect from the website or what their biases might be

  • Advocacy → (.org) 
    • Purpose: influence public opinion, sell ideas
  • Business/marketing → (.com)
    • Purpose: promote or sell products
  • News → (.com)
    • Purpose: provide extremely current information
  • Informational → (.edu or .gov)
    • Purpose: present factual information

Criteria 1: Authority

  1. Is it clear who (organization, institution, or person) is responsible for the contents?
  2. Is there a link to a page describing the goals of the organization, the nature of the company, or purpose of the sponsor?
  3. Is there a way of verifying the legitimacy of the sponsor? That is, is there a phone number or postal address to contact for more information? (An email address is not always enough)
  4. Is there a statement that the content of the page has the official approval of the sponsor?
  5. Is it clear whether this is a page from the main sponsor?
  6. Is there a statement giving the sponsor's name as copyright holder?

Criteria 2: Accuracy

  1. Are the sources for any factual information clearly listed so they can be verified in another source? (If not, the page may still be useful to you as an example of the ideas of the organization, but it is not useful as a source of factual information)
  2. Is the information free of grammatical, spelling, and typographical errors? (These kinds of errors not only indicate a lack of quality control, but can actually produce inaccuracies in information)

Criteria 3: Objectivity

  1. Are the writer's/ sponsor's biases clearly stated?
  2. If there is any advertising on the page, is it clearly differentiated from the informational content?

Criteria 4: Currency

  1. Are there dates on the page to indicate:
    1. When the page was written?
    2. When the page was first placed on the Web?
    3. When the page was last revised?
  2. Are there any other indications that the material is kept current?

Criteria 5: Coverage

  1. Is there an indication that the page has been completed, and is not still under construction?
  2. Is it clear what topics the page intends to address?
  3. Does the page succeed in addressing these topics, or has something significant been left out?
  4. Is the point of view of the sponsor presented in a clear manner with its arguments well supported?

Media Bias Links

Additional Resources

Evaluating Sources: Credo Reference Videos (YouTube) [3:47]

The Facts About Fact Checking: Crash Course (YouTube) [13:55]