Evaluating Internet Resources: A checklist

Unlike most print resources such as magazines, journals, and books that go through a filtering process (e.g. editing, peer review, library selection), information on the Internet is mostly unfiltered. So using and citing this information in a report and is a little like swimming without a lifeguard (BEWARE!). The following guide provides a starting point for evaluating World Wide Web sites and other Internet information.

Authority

bulletWho is the author of the piece?
bulletIs the author the original creator of the information?
bulletDoes the author list his or her occupation, years of experience, position, education, or other credentials?

Affiliation

bullet

What institution (company, organization, government, university, etc.) or Internet provider supports this information?

bullet

If it is a commercial Internet provider, does the author appear to have any connection with a larger institution?

bullet

Does the institution appear to exercise quality control over the information appearing under its name?

bullet

Does the author’s affiliation with this particular institution appear to bias the information?

Currency

bulletWhen was the information created or last updated? (most good pages list this information near the bottom of the main page)

Purpose

bullet

What appears to be the purpose for this information?

bullet

Inform

bullet

Explain

bullet

Persuade

Audience

bullet

Who is the intended audience?

Compared to what?

bullet

What does this work/site offer compared to other works, including non-Internet works?

Conclusion

Given all the information you determined from above, is this Internet site appropriate to use as a source of reliable information?