Ask yourself these questions
when deciding whether you should use a specific web site as a source in your research.
Currency : The timeliness of the information.
- When was the information published or posted?
- Has the information been revised or updated?
- Does your topic require current information, or will older sources work as well?
- Are the links functional?
Relevance : The importance of the information for your needs.
- Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question?
- Who is the intended audience?
- Is the information at an appropriate level (i.e. not too elementary or advanced for your needs)?
- Have you looked at a variety of sources before determining this is one you will use?
- Would you be comfortable citing this source in your research paper?
Authority : The source of the information.
- Who is the author / publisher / source / sponsor?
- What are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations?
- Is the author qualified to write on the topic?
- Is there contact information, such as a publisher or email address?
- Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source? examples: .com .edu .gov .org .net
Accuracy : The reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the content.
- Where does the information come from?
- Is the information supported by evidence?
- Has the information been review or refereed?
- Can you verify any of the information in another source or from personal knowledge?
- Does the language or tone seem unbiased and free of emotion?
- Are there spelling, grammar, or typographical errrors?
Purpose : The reason the information exists.
- What is the purpose of the information? Is it to inform, teach, sell, entertain, or persuade?
- Do the authors / sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?
- Is the information fact, opinion, or propaganda?
- Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?
- Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional, or personal biases?