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Evaluating Information

Learn how to determine whether or not a webpage is reliable.

Why Evaluate?

Evaluating resources is an imporant part of the research process. Whether you are using books, newspapers, or database articles, you should always be sure that the source you use is the best fit for your assignment.

It is especially important to evaluate webpages, because although the World Wide Web can be a great source of information for your research papers, not all information on the Web is good. Online info can be published by anyone, regardless of their expertise. Most webpages do not undergo a lengthy editing process; they can be created quickly and easily, and there is no quality control process to ensure their accuracy. In short, a website can look very professional but still contain bad information.

For all of these reasons, it is important to evaluate webpages before you use them for your assignments. The pages of this guide describe some of the things you should look for when evaluating an online resource.

Top Five Things You should Know About the Internet

1) It's HUGE!

Many experts say that is so big that it is beyond quantification, meaning they can't even estimate how big it is. This means you may have to do a lot of digging to find what it is you want, but there is also a very good chance that what you want is out there waiting to be found!

2) No one is in charge

Before you start panicking, look at the bright side. Anyone can contribute, create and share online with the necessary equipment...BUT, anyone can contribute, so for every good piece of information there is just as much (if not 10 million times) as much bad information.

3) There is a Private and a Public web

There are parts of the web (for example, this website) that are maintained and contain good and authoritative information. Some of these resources are public like most of the web, but some are private and require a subscription for access.

4) There are clues hidden in webpages

There are ways to tell if a webpage is a good source to use for research.

5) This Research Guide will help you navigate the Internet and become a better online researcher