Evaluating Information on the Web
Anyone can publish anything on a web page!
Information on the Internet is not screened or standardized in any way to make sure it is accurate or useful.
Some criteria that should be considered when deciding whether or not to use any information from the web:
Essential web page elements:
The first things to check on a Web document for are the header, body and footer.
Within each of these pieces you should be able to determine the vital elements for evaluating the following information:
- Author or contact person - usually located in the footer
- Link to local home page - usually located either in header or footer
- Institution - usually located in either header or footer
- Date of creation or revision - usually located in footer
- Intended audience - determined by examining the body
- Purpose of the information - determined by examining the body
What to Look For - Important criteria that may be used to evaluate web information:
- Accuracy - How reliable and error free is the information? Who is the sponsoring institution (government, university, commercial company)? How credible or well known is the sponsoring institution? Does the information consist of documented facts or personal opinion?
- Authority - Is the author or source of the information identified and his/her qualifications in evidence? Does the site exhibit good grammar, spelling, and literary composition?
- Objectivity - What is the site’s purpose: to inform, explain, persuade or sell? Is the information presented with a minimum of personal bias?
- Currency - Is the content of the work up-to-date? Is the date of creation or most recent revision date clearly shown?
- Coverage - Is it a comprehensive coverage of the subject matter? Is the information relevant or useful for your needs?