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WEBSITE EVALUATION TOOLS AND RESOURCES
What happens when you don't check your facts?
How to Know If a Site is Reliable?
Urban Legends: True or False?
Examples of Great Brand Journalism
Brands and companies often publish their own content and communicate directly with customers. Should these websites be used for research purposes?
It is totally up to you to establish the validity, authorship, timeliness and integrity of what you find on the Internet.
Use the C.R.A.P. test!
Use the C.R.A.P. Test to Evaluate a Website
- How recent is the information?
- Can you locate a date when the page(s) were written/created/updated?
- Does the website appear to update automatically (this could mean no one is actually looking at it)?
- Based on your topic, is it current enough?
- What kind of information is included in the website?
- Based on your other research, is it accurate? ...complete?
- Is the content primarily fact, or opinion?
- Is the information balanced, or biased?
- Does the author provide references for quotations and data?
- If there are links, do they work?
- Can you determine who the author/creator is?
- Is there a way to contact them?
- What are their credentials (education, affiliation, experience, etc.)?
- Is there evidence that they are experts on the subject?
- Who is the publisher or sponsor of the site?
- Is this publisher/sponsor reputable?
Purpose / Point of View
- What's the intent of the website (to persuade, to sell you something, etc.)?
- What is the domain (.edu, .org, .com, etc.)? How might that influence the purpose/point of view?
- Are there ads on the website? How do they relate to the topic being covered (e.g., an ad for ammunition next to an article about firearms legislation)?
- Is the author presenting fact, or opinion?
- Who might benefit from a reader believing this website?
- Based on the writing style, who is the intended audience?
Adapted from and with thanks to: Molly Beestrum, Dominican University Librarian; and Vanderbilt University Library.
Find a Website's Publisher
Strategies for Finding the Publisher of a Website
Examine the domain name
- Often, the publisher of a website is identified in the URL (web address)
Look for an "About Us" Button or Link
- Reputable websites provide contact information, including the name of the sponsoring organization
Check the bottom of the page
- The name of the website publisher is usually shown to the right of the © sign at the bottom of the page
- One of the easiest ways to find the owner or publisher of a website is to go to WHOIS and search for the domain name. In the returned data, the "registrant" is the person who owns the site.
Practice Your Evaluation Skills!
Which of these websites is NOT a hoax?
What is the PURPOSE of these websites?
Is the author an authority on the subject?
Are these websites good, bad or just plain ugly?