Evaluating Information: Evaluating websites

Use What Where or Not at All

Evaluating websites

The internet is a widely used resource for finding different types of information. In some instances you may be required to search the internet for information for your assessments.  The information on the internet is not always verified as anyone can publish on the internet, therefore you need to be extra vigilant in evaluating your sources of information.

Remember to use the criteria:

  • Authority 
  • Accuracy 
  • Currency
  • Relevance

What type of website is it?

The URL of a website can help you determine the purpose of the website

.edu : an educational institution

.gov : a government body

.org : an organisation

.com : a commercial site

Reference databases alternatives to Wikipedia

How to evaluate websites - website homepage mock-up interactive

In the space below is a mock webpage that has been created to illustrate what to look out for when evaluating sources of information found on the internet. The Evaluating information sources criteria from the previous page can also be used to evaluate information you find on the Internet.

View the alternative text version of the interactive image Evaluating websites

Credits: Website  homepage mock-up was created using Wix.com

Text version of Website homepage mock-up (image and text)

The image is a mockup of a website showing website sections of the URL box, central picture depicting student reading a book representing information seeking behaviour, smaller pictures representing critical thinking, evaluating websites and an advertisement. The purpose of the website mockup is to engage students with how to evaluate information they find on the website. The following information is provided in text boxes accompanying the image: 

URL: The URL of the websites can provide clues as to the credibility of the website. Pay particular attention to the domain names or endings of the URL.
.org- not for profit organisation
.edu- educational institution
.gov- government
.com- corporate organisation/ or individual
The geographic location can be identified by the domain name. For example:
.au- Australia
.uk- United Kingdom

Purpose: The 'About Us' section of the website might contain information about the purpose of the website.
What is the purpose of the website? Inform, Sell, Teach, Entertain, Persuade. The purpose or objective of a website could also be found in 'mission' or 'vision' statement on the website. This is usually found in an 'About us' section.

Authority: Information about the author/s experience and/or qualifications could be found under the 'About Us' section of the website. Remember to double check the credentials of the author/s. This can be done by conducting further research on the authors.

Accuracy: Has the information been referenced or citations provided? Has the author provided facts and statistics? Scan through the text. Are there spelling or grammar errors?

Currency: When was the page last updated? Look for last updated or copyright stamps.