English 12 - Research

All the tools and tips you will need to successfully complete your 12B research project!


Website Evaluation

Have you seen the cartoon showing a dog sitting at a computer monitor?  The message: anyone can post anything they want on the Web! This is a weaknesses and a strength. It is a strength because the Internet allows everyone to have a voice and it supports the democratic principle of free speech. At the same time, this is a weakness because it means people without qualifications, without knowledge can post information on the Internet. The burden for website evaluation rests with the user.

When reviewing a website and determining whether or not to use the page as a source for your academic assignments, consider these criteria:

  • Authority-always take time to examine who is behind the website. Questions to ask include:
    • Who is the website author?  Is contact information provided?  Are qualifications given?
  • Objectivity-determine if the website is free from bias. Consider the following:
    • Is the site promoting a particular perspective on the topic?  Is the information one sided? Who is the intended audience?
  • Quality-examine the website information and its sources. Look for the following:
    • Is the information presented supported by references and citations? Is the topic discussed thoroughly and completely?
  • Currency-quality sites are regularly reviewed and updated if necessary. Be sure a site includes the following: 
    • Date when the site was created and date when last updated.
  • Domain Name-a site domain provides a clue about the validity of the site. Check for the domain:
    • Government (.gov) and Education (.edu) sites are usually legitimate as they are associated with reputable institutions.
    • Organization (.org) and Network (.net) sites are sometimes usable, but evaluation is vital as they may be biased.
    • Commercial (.com) sites are often geared toward selling a product or service and are often not good academic sources.

Explore these websites for more information on evaluating websites: