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HY 580: Research Seminar in Southern U.S. History: Primary Sources - Web

Recommended Websites

Evaluating Web Information

When looking at a website, evaluate it using criteria such as:

Purpose & Audience

  • Who is the site designed for?
  • Is the site scholarly or popular?
  • Are there advertisements on the site?
  • What is the overall purpose of the site?

Authority & Credibility

  • Can the author of the site be identified?
  • What are the author's qualifications?
  • Is the site affiliated with a particular organization?
  • What is the domain of the site (.edu, .gov, .org, .com)? 
  • Do you think the author has expertise on the subject?

Accuracy & Reliability

  • Does the site appear to be well-researched?
  • Are there references to the sources of informations supporting the site's statements or viewpoints?
  • Does the site include grammatical, spelling, or typographical errors?
  • How does the site compare to library resources available on the topic?

Currency & Timeliness

  • When was this information published?
  • Does the page indicate when it was most recently updated?
  • Are there dead links on the page?

Objectivity or Bias

  • Does the site present many opinions or just one?
  • Can you tell if the site presents mostly opinions or facts?
  • Can you identify any bias in the information presented?
  • Is the site sponsored by a company or organization?
  • If there are advertisements, are they easy to distinguish from the informational content?

Structure & Navigation

  • Is the site well organized?
  • Is it easy to navigate between different pages on the site?
  • Does the site offer a search box?

Finally, ask yourself these questions:

  • Is this site a reliable, well-documented information source provided by a reputable author or organization?
  • Would this be a good source of information for my assignment?