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Evaluating Websites: Authority

Learn how to determine which websites will meet the standard for use in college research.

Who is the author & do they know what they are talking about?

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Click on the picture to check out this website. 

Who are the members of the board of directors for the organization sponsoring this website? (See About Us: Frequently Asked Questions)  What are their qualifications on the site's topic?

  • Who is the author? Does the author have any expertise in the area?  
  • Is the site a .edu or .gov website? These are usually good sources of information.  
  • Is it a .com site? It may be strictly commercially motivated -- be careful!! 
  • Is it a .org site? Check the sponsoring organization; .org indicates a nonprofit, but it may strongly advocate particular views.


It’s important to ask questions of any Web site that you plan to use in your research.

Here are some to start with:

  •          Who published or authored this page ?
  •          Can you verify the author’s or creator’s credentials ?
  •          Is the author’s information listed ?
  •          Is the information on the page current ?
  •          When was the last time it was revised ?
  •          Are sources on the site documented ?
  •          Is this organization’s Web site suitable or qualified to address the topic at hand ?  
  •          Is this organization’s Web site promoting a certain agenda?
  •          Are you getting balanced information ?
  •          Does this Web site belong to someone’s personal account rather than an organization ?
  •          Are there links to additional, reliable resources for the topic ?
  •          If statistics are given, are the source of the statistics given as well ?


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