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Is that site good enough to cite?
Evaluating Websites Is that site good enough to cite?
How do YOU decide if a website contains quality information?
Sometimes it’s not easy to tell!
Many websites are not worthy of your time and don’t belong in your works cited lists! It is your job as a researcher to evaluate all your sources for quality.
The CRAAP test CURRENCY (How current the information is)
RELEVANCE (How related it is to your needs) AUTHORITY (The author’s expertise) ACCURACY (How correct the information is) PURPOSE (The reason the information exists)
Be suspicious of undated material!
CURRENCY When was the information published? When was the web page last updated? Has the author of the page stopped maintaining it (Are there broken links)? Does your topic require current information, or are older sources okay? Be suspicious of undated material!
RELEVANCE Does the information relate to your topic or your research question? Who is the intended audience? Is the information at your reading level?
AUTHORITY Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?
What are his or her credentials? (Education/ Experience/Affiliation) Does the author’s experience really qualify him or her as an expert? Is the author’s experience related to the subject he or she is writing about? Is there contact information, such as a publisher or address for the author? Is this a personal page?
Find out who the author is!
Clues often appear on the top or bottom of a page, or in menu bars and frames. Words and phrases to look for: About us, Who Am I, FAQs, For More, Company Information, Profiles, Our Staff, the author If you have no information other than an link, write a polite asking for more information.
ACCURACY Can facts, statistics, or other information be verified through other sources? Did the author list his or her sources? Based on your knowledge, does the information seem accurate? Is the information second hand? Has it been altered? Do there appear to be errors on the page (spelling, grammar, facts)?
PURPOSE What is the purpose of the information? To inform, teach, sell, entertain, or persuade? Does the source present a particular view or bias? Is the page affiliated with an organization that has a particular political or social agenda? Is the page selling a product? Was the information found in a paid advertisement or sponsored result from a search engine?
Tips & Tricks
Examine the URL http://www.cnn.com/social-media/opinion.html
Web address subdirectory web page name root folder (top directory) social media subdirectory opinion.html files research.html apps.html
Truncate the URL Delete characters in the URL up to the domain name to see if the main page offers more information about who is responsible for publishing the page you are interested in. Go from:
http://www.cnn.com/ Examine the domain World Wide Web Suffix
(A system of networked servers) Suffix (Indicates top level domain) Hypertext Transfer Protocol (How messages are formatted/transmitted to a server) site domain name (Domain names identify web pages. Each page has a unique IP address, or network ID. Ex: )
Common suffixes .com Commercial site Vary in quality .gov U.S. government site Bias? .org Organization, often non-profit May be biased .edu School/university What level? Student or scholar? .ac School/university (outside U.S) .mil U.S. military site .net Network service provider Internet administrative site .biz Business ~ or # Personal site Beware: people can easily purchase domains that do not reflect their actual purpose.
Ask.com http://www.ask.com Infoplease http://www.infoplease.com
Time to Practice! Ask.com Infoplease
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