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Evaluate Your Information: Evaluate Web Sites

Evaluate Websites

Google Web Search

Google Web Search

Google Scholar Search

Google Scholar Search

Why Evaluate Web Sites?

When you use the library catalog and article databases to find books and articles, you know that those books and articles have already been through an evaluation process. They were researched, edited and proofread, and published. Then, the library selected the particular books and databases because of their quality.

You don't have this same assurance with web sites, since anyone can write and publish a web site. Web sites do not have to be edited, published, and selected. This means that you must evaluate the information you find on the web yourself. Use the tutorials on this page to help you learn how to evaluate web sites so you can find the quality information that exists on the web.

How Search Engines Work

Evaluating Web sites

IRIS Tutorial: Evaluating Web Sites Take this quick online tutorial to learn how to evaluate Web sites.


You can find good, reliable information on the web. Below is a description of the kinds of web sites that usually have more reliable information.

Web sites are organized into areas, also called domains. Here are some examples of web domains along with their meanings.


Web sites hosted by:

People who often create the information:


educational institutions (schools, colleges, universities, etc.)

professors, students, researchers, school employees


government institutions (food and drug administration, etc.)

government employees, researchers, politicians


organizations (, etc.)

organization employees, subject experts

 You can use Google’s Advanced Search to search by domain.



When looking at your search results DO NOT just pick the top site and hope it’s reliable and on topic. You must evaluate your sources, whether you’re using a book, article, or web site. Here are some tips.

A: Authority – Who wrote it? Who published it? Are the author’s qualifications/background listed?

S: Sources – What sources did the author use? (Look for a bibliography/works cited)

P: Purpose – What’s the purpose of the content? (persuade/convince, inform/educate, report research)

E: Evenness – Are all sides evenly covered? (Is there any bias or is it fairly objective?)

C: Coverage – What’s covered? What’s left out?

T: Timeliness – When was it written? Is it current enough for your needs?