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Determining What's Reputable
While this page focuses on evaluating websites, the criteria and guidance listed here can also be used for evaluating
- print sources such as books
- other forms of communication such as blogs, social networking sites, broadcast media, etc.
Thanks to Louise Buckley, UNH Government Information Librarian, for this page.
Website Evaluation Criteria
|Who is RESPONSIBLE?
- Government, educational or organizational sites are often preferable to commercial ones.
- Is contact information easily located and detailed?
- Check header or footer of home page for sponsor names and contact information.
- Check URL for domain: .gov, .edu, .org, .com.
|What is the PURPOSE?
Goal(s) of the site:
- Objective information?
- Advocacy of specific viewponts or activities?
- Selling a product or service?
- Who is the intended audience?
- Check for details about the sponsor's mission under About Us, Philosophy, or similar links.
|What is the AUTHORITY?
- Expertise in topic should be evidenced by author's credentials and experience.
- Authors should be easily and clearly identified.
- Is the sponsoring organization knowledgeable or respected in the field?
- Check About link for author's credentials
- Google or search other sources for more information about the author or sponsoring organization.
|What is the CONTENT and how is it DOCUMENTED?
- Is coverage comprehensive or superficial?
- Is it well organized?
- Is there any bias apparent? Are other viewpoints presented or just one?
- What's the evidence for the statements made? Are peer-reviewed research studies cited?
- Are sources reasonably current, fully and accurately cited?
- Do links on the site go to other credible or quality sources that are relevant and appropriate for the topic? Do these links work?
- Is grammar and spelling generally error-free?
- Can information be confirmed elsewhere?
- Is advertising, if any, clearly distinguished from informational content?
- Carefully review various pages and links.
- For more information about peer reviewed research, see the Popular vs. Academic Sources section of this guide.
- Search for other independent online or print sources to confirm accuracy of information.
|Is it CURRENT?
- When was it published, created, last reviewed or updated?
- For health information, current is usually better as outdated infomation can be dangerous.
- Look for dates on home and other pages (usually at bottom).