When looking at websites and determining whether or not a website is "good," there are 5 different aspects you should consider. The CRAAP test below will lead you through a series of questions that will help you evaluate websites.
(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- Is the information current or out-of-date for your topic?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?
If you can find the information to answer the question or if most of the answers to these questions is "yes", the website is okay to use. If you cannot find pertinent information or answer "no" to most of these questions, keep looking for a better resources.