How to critically evaluate a webpage

How to critically evaluate a webpage

As information on the web varies so tremendously in quality it is essential that you critically evaluate all information that you find. Use your common sense and refer to the checklist below:

Is this someone’s personal page or site?     

Sometimes there will be a personal name in the URL. This will usually be preceded by the tilde ~ . Personal pages are best avoided unless it's the personal page of a university lecturer / researcher; in which case it should say so.
Is the page owned by an organisation?

If so, is it a reputable organisation?

What domain name does the site have? Is this appropriate to the site?

For more information on domain names click here

What country code does the site have (if any)? This will indicate in which country the server is based which will affect the applicability of the information. For more on country codes click here
Is there a named author / authors?If not, who is responsible for producing this information?

Are the author’s credentials indicated?

If not try searching for the author on Google and try and find out who they are and what else they have published.

Is the author an expert in the field?

Have they published widely in this field? You could use Google Scholar to help you investigate.

Are the author / organisation contact details given?

This will be useful if any information needs to be verified
Is a publication date given?If not, how do you know that it's current enough for your needs?
If so how recent is it?

Is this current enough for your needs?

Is there an indication when the information was last updated? 
Are the sources of the information identified, referenced and cited? 
What is the character of the information?Is it factual, opinion or a combination of both
Is the site well laid out and easily navigable? 
Is the writing style informed, scholarly and appropriate for an academic audience? 
Are any links provided appropriate and still active? 
Is the information available in a different format?For example: as a fact sheet or a published report. This may give some general indication as to quality

What is the overall purpose of the page? Is this commensuate with your requirements?

Has this site been created to: Inform? Provide facts, data? Entertain? Persuade? Sell?

Is the information of comparable quality with the information that you will find in a book, journal or other conventionally published source? If the answer is 'Yes' then you can use the site with confidence; if it's 'No' then look elsewhere

Like a printed version of this form? Click here webpage-checklist for a printable version.

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