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PHR 360 - Proof and Persuasion: Website Evaluation

Welcome!

Welcome to the PHR 360 OWHL Guide. This guide is designed to help you work through the Fact-Checking Assignment. This first tab discusses how to evaluate a website and has a helpful checklist to use. The other tabs specifically discuss how to evaluate news sources. 

Ask yourself

However, not all websites are trustworthy and worthy of citation in your academic work. Remember to consider the following when evaluating a website:

  • Who... is responsible for the website? Is there a specific author or publisher? Consider what makes that person or publisher a credible source.
  • What... is actually on the website? Is it general information that you could find (and confirm) elsewhere? Is it a book, a magazine article, a primary source? What makes it useful and valuable to you and your research?
  • When... what the information published?
  • Where... did the author find the information? Can you find a bibliography or sources?
  • Why... does this website as a whole exist? Is its purpose to entertain, make money, or educate? Look for the "About Us" section of the website to find this information.

Once you put together the answers to those five questions, you will have an idea of whether or not it is trustworthy, but do not stop there.

  • Who --was it for? (was it for someone like you, a young scholar of research)
  • What--does it add to your understanding? (is it giving you new info, is it a primary source?)
  • When—are you reading it? (people writing one hundred years out is very different than 25 years even…governments will release information many years after)
  • Where—did you find it? (Was is a Wikipedia link? Sometimes these are great, other times not)
  • Why—is it worthy of inclusion in your work?
     

Try limiting your domains!

Domains:

  • .biz = business (an alternative to .com)
  • .com = commercial (ads & pop-ups)
  • .edu = educational (colleges & universities)
  • .gov = U.S. government (official agencies)
  • .info = information (generic domain, no criteria needed for companies or individuals to use)
  • .mil = U.S. military
  • .net = network (could be almost anything, including personal websites)
  • .org = organization (could be non-profit or for-profit, can be informative but often biased)

Limit your Google search, by using the "site:" search shortcut. 

"Site searching" examples:

  • To find educational resources on the topic of Philosophy, type in: philosophy site:.edu
  • To find government resources on the topic of Philosophy type in: philosophy site:.gov 
  • NO spaces before or after the colon after the word "site"

Research and Instructional Design Librarian

Website Evaluation Checklist