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Assess Website Quality & Reliability: Home

Outlines five criteria for assessing the quality and reliability of websites.

Interactive Tutorial

Interested in an interactive version of this tutorial, or were you told to take one by a professor? If so, please click here!

How to Evaluate Websites

Here are five criteria to consider:

Accuracy

cartoon web page with magnifying glass

  • The information presented on the website should be factual and accurate
  • Always question if the information was verified prior to being published
  • Consult at least one or two other sources yourself

Authority

  • Cartoon of a person presenting a yellow screen to a group of three Be sure to see if the author's credentials are specified and if not, research that person. The same should be done the for a publisher of a website.
  • Ask yourself is this person an authority on the subject? If not, are they citing voices in their writing who have authority?
  • Is the publisher reputable?

Currency

cartoon image of a calendar with circles that act as dates.

  • Determine if the source is up to date
  • The publication date should be displayed or when the site was last updated
  • Consult at least one or two other sources yourself

 

Coverage

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  • Look at the scope of the site and what's included and see if other sites or sources have similar information
  • Ask yourself, if this site has more information, is it properly cited? If it has less information that others, is there a reason for that?

 

Objectivity

Cartoon image of three people with thought bubbles over their heads.

  • Ask yourself is the purpose of this site's information to inform, teach, sell, entertain or persuade?
  • In what context would this source be useful?

 

Google Search Tips

When you're searching in Google, you can limit your search results by specific domains such as .edu (academic websites), .gov (government websites), .mil (military websites), .org (non-profit websites).

How to do it: after your search terms just add a colon : and then the domain you want to see in the results. Websites from these domains tend to have reliable content - but always use the evaluation techniques for any website!

Example search: nanotechnology market site:.gov  -- this search will only show .gov websites

Sources used on this page

"Evaluating Websites." Library Learning and Resources, 5 March 2020, Prince George's Community College, https://pgcc.libguides.com/c.php?g=60038&p=385689

"Google Search Tips - Limit by Domain." Evaluating Websites, 24 May 2018, DVC Diablo Valley College, https://dvc.libguides.com/evaluating_websites