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Library Home » Articles & Guides » Make Evaluating Websites a PART of the Research Process

Make Evaluating Websites a PART of the Research Process

As PART of the research process, evaluate the reliability and credibility of a source using four factors:
Purpose, Authority, Reliability, Timeliness
Researchers should be able to check each box for acceptable Web sites.

Web Page Title: _______________________________ URL: _________________________________

Factor 1: Determine Purpose
The information at this site is relevant to the topic.
The author acknowledges the validity of multiple points of view regardless of his/her personal beliefs.
The author does not attempt to sell a product/service OR clearly separates advertising from content.
Factor 2: Authority
The authors are individuals who have an educational background or professional experience in the subject area OR the sponsoring organization clearly identifies itself and is run by qualified professionals in the subject area.
Provides contact information such as mailing address, phone number, or e-mail address.
Factor 3: Reliability
The source provides adequate evidence of claims and contains a bibliography OR footnotes to support the authors' statements with research.
The information at this site is complete (no "under construction" graphics/messages).
There are few grammar, punctuation, or spelling errors indicating meticulous research.
Factor 4: Timeliness
The site includes a current copyright/creation date OR a recent revision/review date.
The information is sufficiently current for the topic being researched.

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