Evaluating Online Resources

Information available on the Internet is not regulated for quality or accuracy; therefore, it is particularly important for the individual Internet user to evaluate the resource or information. Keep in mind that almost anyone can publish anything they wish on the Web. It is often difficult to determine authorship of Web sources, and even if the author is listed, he or she may not always represent him or herself honestly, or he or she may represent opinions as fact. The responsibility is on the user to evaluate resources effectively.

When looking at a website, remember the 5 W's:

1.  Who? Who created the site? Are they credible? How can I find out more about the author?
2. What? What is the purpose of the site?
3. When? When was the site last updated?
4. Where? Where does the site live? Is it a .com, .edu, .gov, ...?
5. Why? Why is this site better than another? Why is this information useful for my purpose?

Use the attached handout as a guideline when looking at a web page. If you answer "No" to the first question, you may want to look for a different site. When it comes to the Internet, some sites are definitely better than others! 


Evaluating Web Pages: Why It's Important