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ENGL 1410: Technology and Media: Useful Websites

Evaluate Your Website

   Remember that not all websites are credible sources of information. If you need help determining what is a good website, see the Evaluate Sources page.

Evaluating Websites

There are a few things you should consider when evaluating a website's credibility that you normally don't worry about with books and articles:

Spelling and Grammar

  • If a site is full of typos, don't use it as a source.

Dead Links

  • If many links on the website lead nowhere, no one is making an effort to maintain the site.

Type of Website

  • .edu = educational institution, like a university’s website
  • .gov = United States government website
  • .org = organizational website, often for a non-profit organization but not always
  • .com & .net  = commercial website and most likely the least credible of the websites

Google Hacks

Use these tricks to look for news articles and government, university, and organization websites and info. 

Certain Site Types

Use site: immediately before a site type like .gov, .org, or .edu to prioritize results from that domain type. 

Ex. site:.edu

Within a Site

Use site: immediately before the website address you want to search to search only for results from within that site.

Ex. site:fda.gov

Exclude a Term

Use - directly before a word to get results that don't include that term. 

Ex. macaroni -cheese (for results on just macaroni, without mention of cheese)

Set a Date Range

Use .. between two years to set a date range for your results.

Ex. 2017..2018

For more tips...

Check out this infographic from HackCollege.com

Useful Websites

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Should I use this website?

When looking at websites and determining whether or not a website is "good," there are 5 different aspects you should consider. For this class, we will use the CRAAP test.

(The CRAAP test comes from California State University, Chico. The original worksheet can be found here:http://www.csuchico.edu/lins/handouts/eval_websites.pdf)

Currency: the timeliness of information

  • When was the information published or posted?
  • Has the information been revised or updated?
  • Is the information current or out-of-date for your topic?
  • Are the links functional?

Relevance: the importance of the information for your needs

  • Does the information related to your topic or answer your question?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Is the information at an appropriate level (i.e. not too elementary or advanced for your needs?)
  • Have you looked at a variety of sources before determining this is the one you will use?
  • Would you be comfortable using this source for a research paper?

Authority: the source of the information

  • Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?
  • Are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations given?
  • What are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations?
  • What are the author's qualifications to write on the topic?
  • Is there contact information, such as a publisher or email address?
  • Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source? (i.e. .gov, .edu, .org, etc.)

Accuracy: the reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the content

  • Where does the information come from?
  • Is the information supported by evidence?
  • Has the information been reviewed or refereed?
  • Can you verify any of the information in another source or from personal knowledge?
  • Does the language or tone seem biased and free of emotion?
  • Are there spelling, grammar, or other typographical errors?

Purpose: the reason the information exists

  • What is the purpose of the information? to inform? teach? sell? entertain? persuade?
  • Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?
  • Is the information fact? opinion? propaganda?
  • Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?
  • Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional, or personal biases?