Criteria to use in evaluation
Authority: can I trust this person or group?
- Scan the perimeter of the page. Is there an author? Is the page signed?
- Does the URL give me a clue about authorship? Domain helpful?
- Is the author reputable and qualified? An expert? Is his/her education specified?
- Who is the sponsor? Is the sponsor reputable?
- Is there a link to information about the author or sponsor? Look for words “About Us” or “Philosophy” or “Who am I” A way to contact him/her?
- If the page includes neither a signature nor indicates a sponsor, is there any other way to determine its origin? Yes, there is…what is it?
Nature Religion and the Turn to Politics and Ethics (Who is the author? What are the author’s credentials? What can you find out about him/her?)
Accuracy and objectivity: Will I get the whole truth?
- Is the information reliable and error-free?
- Is there an editor or someone who verifies/checks the information?
- Does the information show a minimum of bias?
- Is the page designed to sway opinion?
- Is there any advertising on the page that might lead you to think the author has “sold out”?
- Does the information sound reasonable and fair?
Currency: Is the information I need correct today?
- Is the page dated?
- If so, when was the last update?
- How current are the links? Have many expired or moved? (404 Error)
- Is the information supplied outdated for my needs today?
- Webster’s Dictionary
Coverage: Is there enough here to make this site worth my while?
- What topics are covered?
- What does this page offer that is not found elsewhere?
- What is its value?
- How in-depth is the material?
Indicators of Quality
- Footnotes and/or a bibliography
- Links to additional sites or information
- Correct spelling and grammar. Are there many grammatical mistakes or misspelled words (if the author’s not careful in this arena, we might wonder how careful he/she is in providing accurate information)