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Evaluating Websites & Internet Sources

Use this guide to help evaluate internet sources

Criteria for Evaluating Information

Consider the following concepts as you navigate information for your classes. These criteria can be applied to print sources, Internet, and media. 


  • What are the author’s qualifications/credentials for writing on this subject? 

  • Is the author's expertise well established or easy to find?

  • How reputable is the publisher or sponsoring organization? 

  • To determine the authorship and qualifications, try a quick Google or Wikipedia search for the name or organization


  • Is there bias? Check for tone, use of dramatic or inflamatory language, and particular points of view so you know what you are dealing with.
  • Are the goals or aims of the individual or group clearly stated or transparent? 


  • Is the content up-to-date? Is the coverage outdated?

  • Check to see if publication dates are omitted or if information hasn't been consistently updated. A big difference between the date information was placed on the web and when it was last revised can be a clue as to it's credibility.


  • What topics are covered and to what depth? 

  • Coverage may vary. Sources will provide a small amount of information on a subject or a great deal. Be aware of the needs of the research or assignment criteria, scope, and topic.


  • Is there a corporate entity (i.e. company, government, organization, university) that supports this site? 

  • Is there a link to information about the organization? 

  • Is there a transparent way to contact them? 

  • How might this affiliation affect objectivity?


  • Can you identify what audience the material is intended for? Is it directed to students in elementary school?  Middle school?  High school?  Is it for adults? Is it aimed at other experts in the field, or professionals?

  • How complex is the material?

  • Is the language or data used detailed and specific, or simplified?


  • It’s here today but will it be available tomorrow? 
  • Can you cite it with some assurance that it will be found again?

  • Look for permanent links to the resources you find, often located under the "share" option.


  • Are there limitations or gatekeeping as to who has access to the research, or who is able to publish the work?
  • Do you need special permission or do you have to pay to access the information? (Never pay, ask a librarian for help first)
  • Limitations as to who can access certain information can be impactful. Consider voices or perspectives that might be missing, left-out, or not prioritized in the work. 


  • Has the information been removed or extracted from the original source?
  • It's harder to tell if the information is reliable if it has been taken out of it's original context.

Web site evaluation video

From Hartness Library CC/ Creative Commons Attribution license (reuse allowed)

CRAP Checklist for Evaluating Sources

  • You can use this list as a quick checklist for evaluating your sources, whether they are websites or from SVC resources.
  • You don't need to be able to answer all the questions but use the list as a general evaluating tool.
  • How recent is the information, does it matter to your topic?
  • Has the resource been consistently updated/revised?
  • Are links current and working?
  • Is the information really relevant to your topic?
  • Does the creator provide references or sources for data or ideas?
  • Are there errors?
  • Who is the creator, author or sponsor?
  • What credentials does the author or organization have?
  • Does their experience or education indicate that they could be considered "experts"?
  • Is information about the creator easily found?
  • Is information provided about funding sources or data gathering for the work?
  • What is the the purpose of the site? Is it obvious what it's for?
  • Are they trying to sell you something or promote an idea?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Is there a strong bias, an aggressive use of language, or a balanced tone?
  • Are there lots of pop-ups and irrelevant ads?


Check a Source

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