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Freshman English: Evaluating Information

A guide for students in English 1101, 1102, and 1103

Evaluating Web Sites


There are a lot of web sites on the Internet that may be relevant for your research. You need to be careful, however, as not all Web sites provide authoritative information.

Ask yourself the following questions when evaluating information on freely-available Web sites:

Who is the author of the page/site?

What are the credentials of the author (what qualifies him or her to write on the topic)?

Who sponsors the site?

What is the purpose of the site - To inform? To entertain?, To sell you something? To argue for a certain point of view?

Who is the intended audience?

Are the sources cited? Where did the author(s) get the information?

Can the information on the page be verified with other sources?

How current is the information?



Is this Website Credible?

Why Evaluate?

Locating information, whether in traditional print format or in electronic format, is only the first step in doing research. The next step is to evaluate the quality and the usefulness of what you find.

Ways to Remember


Currency - when was the article, book, or webpage written or updated? Is the info current enough for your topic?

Authority - who wrote the article, book, or webpage? Is there evidence that the author or organization is an expert on this subject?

Reliability - Are there references given for the information provided? Is the information supported by evidence? Can this information be verified?

Purpose - does the article, book, or webpage present fact, opinion, propaganda? Is there a bias? Is the purpose to inform, sell, entertain, persuade?