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Evaluating websites guide – University of Reading

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Evaluating websites guide

There is a huge amount of information on the Internet but its quality is variable. Follow these tips to help you evaluate what's good and what's not!

Alternatives to websites...

If you are looking for information on a topic for an essay, project or seminar use the databases for your subject. These are guaranteed to give you good references to reliable, published information - some may even give you full-text articles.

Key websites for your subject

To help guide you through the mass of information on the Internet your liaison librarian has identified some key web sites. These are listed in the useful websites guides.

Before believing the information given on a web site, or quoting it in your essay or project, think about the following:

Authority

  • Who is responsible for the page/site?
  • Is it a reliable organisation (eg a well known university) or a subject expert?
  • Can you trust them?

Accuracy and reliability

  • Is the information correct?
  • Is the grammar and spelling correct?
  • Is it complete, or are they just giving one point of view?
  • Do they have their own agenda eg political organisations?
  • Is the information fact or opinion?

Currency

  • Can you tell how up-to-date it is?
  • Is it regularly updated?
  • You don't want to quote out-of-date information

Audience / relevance

  • Is the information of the right level to be quoted in your project? If it is aimed at the general public or school children it might not be!

Feel!

  • Is the site well structured and easy to navigate?
  • Are the links from the page up-to-date and valid?
  • If it is well designed and maintained then you can feel more confident about the information it provides

Other guides to evaluating Internet resources

 

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