Web-site Evaluation Criteria

Some time ago I introduced you to one of social bookmarking tools delicio.us (http://delicious.com) and saw that there is a quite variety of resources available on the web. So it becomes necessary to understand how credible the information they contain is. What for? The materials of this lesson will help you to get a better idea about it.

Have a look at the list of criteria for evaluation created by M. Krauss and Anholt and then use them to evaluate the resources listed below the explanation of these criteria:

Answer the following questions “yes” or “no”. If you have more than 9 “Yes” answers, you can use resource you have found or were recommended to use.


Some articles are written to report information objectively (without the author’s opinion). Other articles are written to “advocate” the author’s point of view, either for or against an issue. It is okay to use advocacy articles, but you also need to find an equal number of articles from the other side’s point of view.

1.___Is it clear to you that this article is either objective reporting or an advocacy article?
Which is it? (check one) ___objective ___advocacy

2.___Is more than one viewpoint expressed?

3.___Can you identify the name of the organization that put up this Web site?
Which organization is sponsoring it?


1. ___Do you know who wrote the information on this page?

2. ___Is there a link to contact the author?

3. ___ Is there information to show that the author is knowledgeable or an expert?

Check the URL (Web address). A tilde (~) means the page is a personal one, not part of an organization’s official Web site. Try putting the author’s name into Google. See what else s/he has written. You can also put the URL into Google. This will show you which sites link to the page you found.

1. ___ Can you tell where the author got his/her information? Are there links to the sources?

2. ___ Is the information typed correctly, with correct grammar and spelling?

It is important to have up-to-date information. Some Web sites have old information that is still useful, but if the actual Web site is not updated, you may doubt the information which is presented.

1. ___Can you find the date that this article was originally written?

2. ___Can you find the date that this article was put on the Web?

3. ___Can you find the date that this article was revised?

4. ___Click on three links in the text (if there are links in the text). Are all the links working?

Some Web sites are collections of links to other Web sites. They are useful, but they not considered a “source” of information for your paper.

1. ___Does this Web site contain original information?

2. ___Does this article contain information that will help you with your paper?

Another form for web-site evaluation is located at http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/TeachingLib/Guides/Internet/EvalForm.pdf

First, apply these criteria to the analysis of two websites listed below

1. Mankato, Minnesota (http://www.mankato-mn.gov/)
2. Mankato, Minnesota (http://descy.50megs.com/mankato/Mankato.html)

In the thread following this post write your evaluation of these sites and see what your peers have to say about it.

Next, read A short introduction to the study of Holocaust revisionism, by Arthur R. Butz (http://www.codoh.com/butz/di/intro.html) and then the article by Alan November “Teaching Zack to Think” (http://novemberlearning.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/teaching-zack-to-think.pdf) which serves as an excellent illustration of why it is important to analyze the credibility of information you find on the web.. In your post, explain whether it is important to evaluate the quality of information on the internet. Why?

Finally, visit one of the sites listed below and post a comment with its evaluation: is it credible or not? How do you know?

* Aluminum Foil Deflector Beanie (http://zapatopi.net/afdb/)
* Facts About from Idiotica (http://www.idiotica.com/cranium/encyclopedia/)
* Should we ban dihydrogen monoxide (DHMO) (http://www.dhmo.org/)?
* Museum of Hoaxes (http://www.museumofhoaxes.com/)
* California’s Velcro Crop under Challenge (1993) (http://home.inreach.com/kumbach/velcro.html)
* Did the Holocaust happen? (http://www.jimloy.com/history/holocaus.htm)
* Physics and Star Trek (http://www.physicsguy.com/physandtrek/)
* The Faked Apollo Landings (http://www.ufos-aliens.co.uk/cosmicapollo.html)

(Author: Jill Haslam – Email jhaslam@dsdmail.net)

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