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ENG 1021: English Composition (Providence Campus-Harborside)


How do I Know if I Found a Good Website?

Evaluating Websites


Author: Who is providing this info and what makes them an expert?

Do you recognize them as being an expert on this subject?

What are their credentials and background? (This can often be found in an “About” section.)

Is there contact info?


Purpose: Why is this info being provided? Is it for informing/ educating, persuading, selling a product or service, or entertaining?

Check domain names for a clue to the purpose

.gov – government

.edu – college or university

.com – commercial entity

.org – organization (ex. charitable, religious, or advocacy group)

~ (“tilde”) – personal site


Objectivity: Consider the website’s perspective.

Is the info objective or subjective?

Are different points-of-view represented?

Is the bias obvious or hidden? Knowing that there is a bias, is the info still useful?

Does the site have a sponsor? What does the sponsor sell or advocate?


Authenticity: Can you trust that this info is accurate?

Could the information be meant as humorous, a parody, or satire?

Does the author clearly differentiate between opinion and fact?

Is the info a primary or secondary source?

Are facts backed up by outside credible sources?

Do other sites use this as a reference? (To find out which other sites link to this one, search Google: “link:[website address].”


Timeliness: Is the info up-to-date?

Does currency of information matter with your particular topic?

When was the info produced?

When was the site lasted updated? (This date is often found at the bottom of a page.)

Are there dead links? (This is an indicator that the site hasn’t been updated recently.)


Relevance: Will it be helpful to your research?

Is the content appropriate for college research, or is it directed at a younger audience?

Is the information in a form that is useful such as words, pictures, charts, sounds, or video?

Do the facts contribute something new or add to your knowledge of the subject?


Presentation: Is the info well-organized and user-friendly?

Are there grammatical and spelling mistakes?

Is the info presented clearly?

Is the site visually-appealing?

Are there ads and pop-ups?

Is it easy to navigate the site?



Check Your Facts

Have you found something on the Internet or in a publication and you're wondering if it's true? Check out these sites for further clarification.

Learn More About Evaluating Websites