Website Evaluation

How can I determine if a website is a credible source?

Check the following:

  • Author – Information on the internet with a listed author is one indication of a credible site. The fact that the author is willing to stand behind the information presented is a good indication that the information is reliable.
  • Date –By including a date, the website allows readers to make decisions about whether that information is recent enough for their purposes.
  • Sources – Credible websites, like books and scholarly articles, should cite the source of the information presented.
  • Domain – Some domains such as .com, .org, and .net can be purchased and used by any individual. However, the domain .edu is reserved for colleges and universities, while .gov denotes a government website. These two are usually credible sources for information. Be careful with the domain .org, because .org is usually used by non-profit organizations which may have an agenda of persuasion rather than education.
  • Site Design – This can be very subjective, but a well-designed site can be an indication of more reliable information. Good design helps make information more easily accessible.
  • Writing Style – Poor spelling and grammar are an indication that the site may not be credible. In an effort to make the information presented easy to understand, credible sites watch writing style closely.
  • Incorrect information – Check the facts to make sure the information is correct. Many times the site may look good in every other way, but the actual information is incorrect. Verify facts with another credible site.

Take a look at the following websites. Even though some of these look very real, they are all fakes.