Evaluating Websites

It's always best to evaluate Web Sites Critically. Here are some easy steps to keep in mind when researching on the Internet: 

1) Who is the author or sponsor of the site? Make sure it is a reliable source. 
Hint: Scroll to the bottom of the page to locate info about author or sponsor. 
Beware: If the URL contains the word 'user', it is someone's personal page. 

2) What authority does the author or sponsor have to write about the subject? 
Hint: Look for a link that gives information about the author's background &/or education. 
Does this information tell about the author's background, education, or credentials? 

3) Does the author or sponsor provide a source for the material that was included on the website? 
Hint: Scroll down to the bottom again to see if a source is listed for the information. 

4) Is there any bias evident in the information? Is the information one-sided? 
Beware: There are many valuable sites on the internet that have a bias or are prejudice toward one view or another. 
Could you imagine the National Rifle Association encouraging gun control by the government? Yet, I'm sure their web site could provide valuable statistics and information on the issue. Keep your mind open. 

5) Is the information fact or opinion? 
Make sure the information you are getting is from a reliable source. 

6) When was the site last updated? 
Hint: This is often located at the bottom of the page. 

7) Is the material relevant to your needs? Does it give the information you need for your research project? 

Wikipedia may be a good place to start your research, but don't rely on it too much. Any site that allows anyone to edit, change, or alter the information needs to be viewed with caution. You might want to check the facts and information found on Wikipedia with other sources. 

Good luck on your research project! I hope this helps you find the best internet sources.

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