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Library Homepage: Evaluating Internet Sites

The WCTC Library serves the students, faculty, staff, and residents of the Waukesha County Technical College district.


Evaluating Internet Sites

Accuracy (Truthfulness)

  • Is the information accurate? Is it reliable and error-free?
  • Is there an editor or someone who verifies or checks the information?
  • Is there evidence to support the conclusions? Can you find other sources that support the conclusions?
  • Do the authors list their sources or references?

Authority (Expertise)

  • Is there an author? Is the author qualified and credible? An expert in their field?
  • Is there a sponsoring organization or institution? Is the sponsor of the page reputable and credible?
  • Is there a link to information about the author or the sponsor?
  • If the page does not have an author or sponsor, is there any other way to determine its origin?
    • Look for a header or footer showing affiliation.
    • Look at the URL. (
    • Look at the domain. (.edu, .com, .gov, .org, .net)

Objectivity (Fairness, with all sides being presented equally)

  • What is the purpose of the information? What does the author want to accomplish?
  • Does the purpose affect how the information is presented?
  • Is the information directed toward a particular audience (general public, scholars, etc.)?
  • Is the information biased (show partiality or favoritism toward an idea)? Persuasive?
  • Is the information fact or opinion?
  • Does the site ask you to donate money or purchase something?

Currency (Being up-to-date)

  • Is the information current? Does it need to be current, such as medical information or news items? Is it still valid?
  • Is the page dated? If so, when was the last update?
  • How current are the links? Have some expired or moved?
  • Is there newer information on this topic available from another resource?

Coverage (Important and necessary for your topic)

  • What topics are covered? Is the information relevant to your topic and assignment?
  • Does this resource give you unique information? What does this page offer that is not found elsewhere?
  • How in-depth is the information? Are there other sources that support this information?

Things to Check for:

  • Spelling errors and bad grammar
  • Important facts that are missing
  • Angry, hateful or critical writing
  • Information that cannot be proven
  • Exaggerations, such as: “Millions of people die…”
  • Links that take you nowhere
  • Vague statements or generalizations with no facts or sources to back them up


Adapted from: Beck, S. (1997). The good, the bad & the ugly: Or, why it’s a good idea to evaluate web source; Harris, R.(2007). Evaluating internet research sources. VirtualSalt.; Kresge Engineering Library. (2011). How to evaluate electronic resources. University of California-Berkeley.

Evaluating Internet Sites Handout

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