Evaluating Websites

How do I know if a site is “good” for research?

A “good” website for research is one that:

·is current and up to date
·is objective and fair
·is accurate and detailed
·is written by an authority
·is related to your search or topic


When you are evaluating a website for currency ask yourself:

When was the page written?
When was the page last updated?
How recent are the facts and data, and is that important?


When you are evaluating a website for objectivity ask yourself:

Are many different perspectives included?
Is the information presented in a fair way?
Does the author seem biased or one sided?
Does the site present an opinion or facts?


When you are evaluating a website for accuracy ask yourself:

Does the information seem correct?
Is the information detailed?
Does the author include references of where the information came from?
Is the information complete or are their gaps in what’s presented?
Is the information on this site the same as information you have found on other sites?


When you are evaluating a website for authority ask yourself:

Does the author claim to be an expert on the topic?
If so, does the author provide his or her credentials or educational background?
Does the author work for, or represent, a government, educational or scientific institution?
Does the website include contact information for the author?

Relevant and Pertinent

Relevant websites are GENERALLY related to your topic.


Pertinent websites are DIRECTLY related to your topic.

It is good to have both relevant and pertinent websites. Ask yourself:

Do you really need this information in your inquiry?
Is there enough information to form an opinion?


Also look at the way the site looks and works. Ask yourself:

Is the information laid out in an easy to read way?
How quickly does the site open?
How well is the information organized?
Are the menus easy to read and follow?
Do all the links work?
Are there pop-ups?
Can you access it at school?
Is it easy to read?
Is it visually appealing or do the graphics distract from the information?


Choose three of the websites below and evaluate them using the handout.
Which of these websites do you think are real websites?

California’s Velcro Crop at Risk: http://www.umbachconsulting.com/miscellany/velcro.html

City of Mankato: http://city-mankato.us/

Save the Mountain Walrus: http://web.archive.org/web/20020124024407/http:/www.end.com/~jynx/walrus/

Yoga Kitty: http://www.yogakitty.com/index.html

Sea Mucus: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/10/photogalleries/ocean-mucus-sea-pictures/index.html

Burmese Mountain Dog: http://www.burmesemountaindog.org/

Jackalope Conspiracy: http://www.sudftw.com/jackcon.htm

Bureau of Sasquatch Affairs: http://zapatopi.net/bsa/

International Museum of Toilets: http://www.sulabhtoiletmuseum.org/old/


This is a good WebQuest that shows why it is important to evaluate websites if you are using them for research:
http://allaboutexplorers.com/ NOTE: read the About this site before using the site.

Teachers might find this site amusing: http://www.dhmo.org/.

The Internet Detecive Website: http://www.vts.intute.ac.uk/detective/