Answer

The reliability of the information you find on a website should be determined by evaluating the site's Authority, Accuracy, Objectivity, Currency and Coverage.

 

Cornell College has written A Guide to Evaluating Resources which includes what types of questions to ask when evaluating a website: 

 

Criteria

Questions to Ask
Authority

• Is the author and the author’s affiliation clearly indicated?

• Is there contact information for the author?

• Is the publisher (or publishing source) reputable?

Accuracy

• Do editors check the information?

• Is appropriate documentation provided when the author refers to another’s work?

• Is the page error-free? 

Objectivity

• Is the purpose of the site clearly stated?

• Does the author make use of emotional appeals instead of logical arguments as a means to sway the opinion of the audience?

• Is sponsorship acknowledged?

Currency

• Is the publication date (date created) clearly stated?

• Is the page revised regularly, with the date posted?

• Are all links active? 

Coverage

• What is the purpose of the page? Is the scope clearly stated?

• To what depth does this page purport to delve into the topic? Does it claim to be what it is not?

• Who is the audience for the page? Experts or novices? 

 



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