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Using the Web as an Aid in Research - Evaluating Websites

The Problem

In the past, in the print-based world, virtually all the publishing channels that a university library relied upon had some sort of quality control in place. By contrast, it is now very easy to publish material on the Internet. As a result, much Internet material is of poor quality from an academic point-of-view.

Important Measures in Assessing Websites

There are many measures that may be used to assess a website. The most two important of these are:

  1. the authority or reputation of both the author and the sponsor of the website, and
  2. the apparent quality of information in the website.

Authority or Reputation

This is the easier of the two to assess. Here are some techniques to use:


This is more difficult to assess. You may have to rely on indirect clues such as the following:

Practice Example

Here is a Practice Example to give you some practice in evaluating websites. It states the question first. After you have done some work, we will go down to the bottom of that page and see some suggested answers to the question.

Librarian, Information Services and Resources, Davis Centre Library
Last Updated: October 18, 2004