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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?

 

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.
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Authority

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 ?

    Domain Names