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Evaluating Resources

Five Criteria for Evaluating Resources

1. Accuracy
  • Who wrote the resource and can you contact them?
  • What is the purpose of the document and why was it produced?
  • Is this person qualified to write this document?
  • Is the information clear, legible and well organized and mostly error free?
2. Authority
  • Is the document published by a peer-reviewed journal, scholarly or educational organization?
  • Who published the document and is it separate from the "Webmaster?"
  • Check the domain of the document, what institution publishes this document?
  • Does the publisher list his or her qualifications?
  • Can the publisher's qualifications be verified by other reliable sources?
  • Is the information authentic, trustworthy or a hoax?
3. Objective/Purpose
  • What goals/objectives does this document meet?
  • Is purpose commercial, educational, informative or personal?
  • How detailed is the information?
  • What opinions (if any) are expressed by the author?
  • Is the information balanced or bias with a political, commercial, religious bent?
4. Relevancy
  • When was it produced?
  • When was it updated?
  • How up-to-date are the links (if any)?
  • Is the resource referenced by other sources?
5. Coverage
  • Are the links (if any) evaluated and do they complement the documents' theme?
  • Is it all images or a balance of text and images?
  • Is the information presented cited correctly?
URL Authority

What does the URL (Web address) say about the producer of the web site, and its purpose? Look at the final syllable in the domain name. The first three sites below are all "IRS" sites.  Follow the links on a site to reveal the true owner of a domain or use Network Solutions WhoIS.

.gov Government agency: www.irs.gov
.netInternet Service Provider: www.irs.net
.comCommercial site: www.irs.com
.eduHigher education - www2.indwes.edu. Other educational sites may appear with different domain names: www.whitehouse.gov/kids
.milMilitary site- www.navy.mil
~("tilde") Personal site - www.2tcwebs.com/~tsanti14/
.orgOrganization; may be charitable, religious, or a lobbying group - www.unicef.org

Domain Name Registries around the World http://www.norid.no/domenenavnbaser/domreg-alpha.html


Hoaxes present a major challenge for evaluating information found on the Web. Here are several examples to test your Evaluation IQ. To test a suspicious email use MicroTrend Hoax site to evaluate your message.

Peeps Research
World Trade Organization
Dihydrogen Monoxide Research Division



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