Most people know that not everything that is published on the internet is reliable. There is a great deal of information that is published that is biased, incomplete, or erroneous. Having good website evaluation skills is essential to online research.
There are several things to keep in mind when you are looking at a website as a possible resource:
1. Who owns the site and is responsible for its content?
2. What is the purpose of the website? Look at the About Us or About or Our Mission or some other link that will tell you about the site.
3. What is the point of view of the website?
4. When was the site last updated?
5. Why would this website be a good resource for me?
This section will cover the basic types of websites and how to tell the difference, outline the website elements that will authenticate the website, and how to do a link check. It might also be helpful to review "How to 'Read' a URL" and "How to 'Read' a Web Page".
Basic types of Websites
Combination of Types
Many times websites will be a combination of two or more types of the basic websites. This is especially true of Informational and Business/Marketing Websites.
Look at the websites below and decide what combination of types of websites each site is. Remember, looking for the "About Us" on any website will help you decide what the mission is and if it is helpful to you in your research.