When considering using a web page for your research, ask yourself the following questions:
1. Does the web page contain enough information to be useful?
2. Is current information important for your research? If so,
a.Check to see if the web page has been updated recently. If so, see #b. If not, choose another web page.
b.Check to see if the content dates are current. If so, see #c. If not, choose another web page.
c.If there are links on the page, are many of them dead? If not, see #d. If so, choose another web page.
d.Do the links go to material that is current? If not, choose another web page.
3. Is the web page biased?
a.Check the internet for information about and by the author of the page (person or organization). If it is obvious there is a particular agenda, choose another web page.
b.Is there inflammatory language? If so, choose another web page.
Objective web page: Consumer Reports | Biased web page: Martin Luther King Jr.: A True Historical Examination
4. Is the author or organization an authoritative source? Is the information reliable?
a.Is the author's or organization's name and contact information clearly visible? If not, choose another web page. If so, see #b, #c, and #d.
b.What are the author's qualifications, education, occupation? Is the organization reputable?
Search for the author's or organization's name in Google using " ". For example: "John Doe"
Check the domain name that is embedded in the URL: .gov, .edu, .com, .org, .net, .mil.
Use Whois.net to see who has registered the domain name of the URL.
c.Is there a bibliography or a source list?
d.If there is advertising on the page, can it be differentiated from the informational content?
5. Is the web page a hoax, spoof, or joke site?
Watch groups scan the web for mis-information, fraudulent, and fanatical web sites. Virtual Chase maintains an updated list of these groups.
Here are some places to go for reliable web pages:
Developed by the Binghamton University Libraries' Critical Research Practices Committee