Evaluating Sources

Special Considerations for General Web Sites:

  • Do many other sites link to this page? (Google Search: link:library.bowdoin.edu)
  • Who owns the site? (You can use Whois Domain Lookup to look up who owns the domain.)
  • Is currency important? If so, is there an indication of when the page was written? is the bibliography up to date?
  • Permanence: is the information likely to STAY up for a reasonable amount of time?
  • Conduct searches that exclude ".com" sites and concentrate on .edu, .org, and .net sites, e.g., vernal pools -site:.com
Who is the author of the page?
Can you identify their qualifications for providing this information?
Is there contact information for the author?
Are sources provided for the information included?
Is the information itself verifiable from another source?
Are there signs of bias and/or subjectivity?
What is the purpose, to inform or pursuade?
Are alternative or opposing views or arguments represented?
Is the material original?
Is it a brief summary or an in-depth report?
Is there an indication that the material is complete? Does it cover just a certain time period?
Other Considerations
Purpose: is the information there to serve as a vehicle for advertisements? Is it a platform for opinion? Is it educational?
Origin: is the source an educational institution, the government, or a non-profit organization?
Does the infomation provided answer my question or back up my thesis? Does it raise other relevant questions?