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Elements of Website Evaluation


Start by asking: what’s my information “neighborhood”? Am I looking for scholarly sources, opinions, personal information… or something else? The following criteria are the sorts of things to consider when you are evaluating information for a school research project.


  • What are the author’s credentials? Know when credentials matter.
  • Is the source known and respected? Is there any way to contact the source?
  • Are there “back door” ways of determining authority, like reviewer ratings? Can you trust these?
  • Does a high ranking on search engine results mean a source is authoritative?


Balanced Treatment

Be able to spot point of view

  • Is the site fair and objective?
  • Is it an advocacy site? Advocacy sites promote the interests of an organization, a cause, or a point-of-view, and are biased by definition.
  • Is there a conflict of interest? Does the website producer stand to benefit from the information being provided?

How important is balance? Is it required for your purposes?

  • Do hobbyists’ sites, “fun” sites, and advocacy sites need to be unbiased?
  • Is bias necessarily a bad thing?

Sample Persuasion Techniques

Test yourself! What persuasion techniques are being used on this site?