Evaluating Web Resources
As you evaluate the web sites that you may decide to use for your research paper, be sure to make sure that your site isn’t FLAWED. Ask yourself the questions below for each site that you plan to use. If you get more “yes” answers than “no” answers, your site is FLAWED and should not be used for an academic paper. Remember: every single “yes” answer should cause you to doubt the site!
- Does the site load too slowly? Are any of the images grainy or difficult to see?
- Does the site include links or buttons that don’t work properly?
- Rather than including mostly original content, does the site rely heavily on links to other sites? Does the site include a lot of borrowed information?
- Do you need to pay for a subscription or provide your e-mail address to access all of the features or content on the site?
- Does the site fail to provide a “last updated” date?
- Is the copyright date on the site more than 5 years old?
- Does the content on the site mention information that seems outdated?
- Does the site list any other organizations that they support and/or collaborate with? (If the organization(s) have a particular political or corporate agenda, this may mean the site contains biased information.)
- If this is a site that supposedly belongs to a recognizable organization—is the well-known logo missing?
- Does the organization who maintains this site vocally support a certain political party, political group, religion, controversial cause, or company?
- Is the site trying to sell a product or service? Does it contain advertisements?
- Is the site vague about who actually created the content that is displayed on its pages? (Reputable sites usually contain a “Contributors,” “About,” or “Contact Us” page where they list the site authors)
- Does the site list a Webmaster’s name or give credit to a web design company, but fail to give any information about the site author(s)?
- Are the site authors’ names listed without giving any indication of the background/education levels/job experience that these individuals possess?
- Does the site offer you a chance to contribute to its content, without paying money or requiring special approval from a Webmaster?
End of web address
- Does the web address for the site’s main page end in “.com” ?
- Is the address for the main page long and complicated? (rather than a simple address like www.ncte.org)
- Is the site disorganized and difficult to navigate?
- Does the site contain text that is too small or otherwise difficult to read?
- Does the text on the site contain grammar mistakes or spelling errors?
- Does the site contain overwhelming media components (like images, graphics, or videos) that interfere with your ability to gain information?