The Internet is an unregulated community with no oversight for content. Since anyone can create a website, always evaluate information found online before using it.
Evaluating internet sites effectively requires you to do two things at once:
Below are some suggested questions and interpretations to help you evaluate the websites you encounter.
There is a difference between the author and the webmaster, be sure the author of the information is identified and contact information is provided.
Check the domain to verify the document's origin. As a general rule, the following domains are published by authoritative sources: .edu, .gov, and .org.
Be wary of websites that look informational despite their intentions to advertise ideas, opinions, and products.
The level of maintenance on a page can be a good indicator of its currency. Broken links and infrequent updates can be signs of out-of-date information that should not be relied upon.
Accessibility is an important consideration when using and citing online sources. It is best to use resources that are likely to still be available for reference in the future.
The site you have found may be of value if...
...it lists the author and institution that published the page and provides a way of contacting him/her and...
...it lists the author's credentials and its domain is preferred (.edu, .gov, or .org) and...
...it provides accurate information with limited advertising and it avoids presenting biased information, and...
...it is current and updated regularly (as stated on the page) and the links (if any) are also up-to-date, and...
...you can view the information properly and are not limited by fees, browser technology, or software requirements.