- Authority: Check for information on the person or organization responsible for the website and verify their credentials.
This information is traditionally placed in the About Us section and/or the bottom of the page.
- Organization (e.g., university, state/federal agency, non-profit, commercial) or an individual that developed the website:
- Other organizations that are connected to supporting the website:
- Contact information (email, phone/fax, mailing address) is clearly listed:
- Credentials or qualifications of the author(s) or organization:
- Purpose: Evaluate the purpose of the website (e.g., information, opinion, entertainment)
Start with About Us, About This Site, Mission Statement sections (if available), check the overall structure.
- What is the purpose of the website (e.g., personal webpage, company/organization, a forum for educators or researchers, entertainment, advertisement, general forum)?
- Who is the audience (e.g., students, parents)?
- Is the site well organized (the structure of the site makes sense)?
- Is the information on the website clearly supports the overall purpose of the site?
- Are external links appropriate for the website purpose?
- Does the site provide any information on the links (e.g., evaluation, description)?
- Check the text in the site’s URL. Does it support the purpose of the site?
- Coverage: Check for how thorough and detailed the information is
Check the overall structure and information on the site. It is difficult to assess in depth as depending on the number of pages and links, it can take a long time. Ski through page headers and subheaders/topics covered.
- What is the focus of the site (e.g., broad description, detailed information on a single topic)?
- Are there more links to the outside sources or internal sources?
- If more links are to outside sources, is it justified (e.g., the site is a search database)?
- Currency: Check for how current the information is and how often the site is updated.
This information can be at the top of the page (e.g., in blogs) or bottom of the article or page.
- When was the page/article first written?
- When was it placed on the web (if applicable or available)?
- When was it last revised?
- Are links up-to-date? If too many links are dead, the information has not been recently updated
- Objectivity: Check for biases (e.g., prejudice or preference for one side). Avoid sites that have biases (e.g., only one side or point of view is offered)
- Do you believe the site has a particular bias or tries to convince you of a specific thing?
- Who advertises on the website?
- Is the site trying to explain, inform, persuade, promote, or sell something?
- Accuracy: Check information for accuracy and reliability
- Is the website affiliated with a known and respectable institution?
- Does the information provided on the site highlight evidence-based practices or new and untested recommendations?
- Is it clear where the information comes from (e.g., references for other sources and articles, if data is used where it comes from or how collected)?
- If Is the text written clearly with no grammar or spelling mistakes?
- Does the information seem to be accurate to your best knowledge or opinion?
Dalhousie University (n.d.). 6 criteria for websites. Available from https://cdn.dal.ca/content/dam/dalhousie/pdf/library/CoreSkills/6_Criteria_for_Websites.pdf