- Internet & the Web
How to Evaluate a Website
Getting information of the internet can be hard work, especially if you don't have a good understanding of whether the website is trustworthy or not. In this article you will learn how to evaluate a website so you know your getting the truth, and only the truth.
As you probably know, reading a website and a book are very similar except for several major differences. In a book, you normally read every single word, but on a website you skim over words and get what you need unless the content is particularly engaging. In a book the author takes you along a plot line while a webmaster will allow you to choose your own path. Notice the difference? But the real question is... Are these websites to be trusted with accurate information? And that is what this Hub will hopefully answer.
Before We Start
Before I start explaining how to evaluate whether a website should be trusted or not, you should get to be familiar with these terms which will help you determine this.
Domain- Tells us who or what is publishing the website. Here are some common ones:
.com- a commercial business, organization, or company
.edu- an educational institution
.int- an international organization
.gov- a nonmilitary government entity
.mil- a military organization
.net- other organizations: nonprofit, nonacademic
.uk, .au, .jp, etc- codes based on the servers country of origin
(˜) tilde-a mark that usually means the site you are viewing is some one's personal page and there for not a good source for research.
Wiki-by definition, a wiki site can be changed or edited. Also not the best website for accurate information.
Blog-Web-Log. A personal space for exchange of ideas, and not a likely source for research.
These are the key things to look for and analyze when deciding whether a website may be reliable or not.
Sponsor/Source: Commonly found at the top or bottom of the page. Once finding the source, consider the type of site and domain. Is it a wiki, blog, personal, company, etc.? Also refer back to the common domain endings above.
Date: Look and see whether you can find the date of the last update made to the site somewhere on the page. The more frequently it is updated, and the closer it is to today's date, the better.
Point of View/Purpose:Determine why the site was created. Are they trying to sell you something? Is it to promote a cause? For education? Try to figure out whether it is biased or providing propaganda.
Expertise/Credentials: Who or what is the owner of this website? Is it a well known company or have you heard of them before? If you haven't, try and do a quick web search. Then determine if it's credible.
Overall Evaluation: Take in consideration the overall effect of the site. How it looks, the information provided, the accuracy, its biases, and whether the owner is too lazy to do a spelling and grammar check or not. Now decide if it is trustworthy or not.
Remember that when evaluating a website, all of the things to look for might not be present such as the date it was last updated. Information on the Internet should not at all be taken as the truth until you have a good understanding on what is and isn't. When researching unfamiliar topics, be extra cautious in your researching as you don't want to help spread the lies. Good luck evaluating websites and may you find the truth and only the truth!
If you have any questions or comments please contact me by email or leave a comment below. Have a nice day!