A Checklist for Evaluating Web Material
Evaluating web-based sources is a difficult and complex process.
There is an abundance of information on the Web, but some of it may be
inaccurate, biased, or misleading. Determining what sites and sources may
be most useful for your needs can be complicated and confusing.
Academic research relies on the use of accurate and well-documented sources
of information. Generally, books and journal articles are subjected to a thorough
review process before publication. Print items in a library are much easier to
evaluate because they have already been reviewed twice: first by editors and
reviewers, who verify that the
information is accurate, and then by librarians, who decide whether the item
is appropriate for the collection.
Unlike most books and journals, websites are self-published and are not
necessarily held to that same level of scrutiny. As a result, you will need
to examine materials obtained from these sites with extra care. Remember,
it is your responsibility to judge the quality and the validity of the information
you are retrieving.
This checklist can help you assess the reliability
of the resources you have found. When researching a topic on the Web,
consider these guidelines, but keep in mind that there are many criteria to
consider in choosing valid sources for your research.
If you are still uncertain about how well the material you've retrieved
meets these criteria, then you should speak to a librarian, or consider
using alternate sources of information.
Be patient, it usually takes a lot of practice to successfully
evaluate Web resources.
Mary Kate Boyd-Byrnes
HTML by Robert Delaney