Anyone is free to publish on the Internet. Therefore, if you find resources on the Internet, it is important to evaluate these resources to determine if they are credible sources before you use them in your essay. Asking the following questions is a good way for determining the credibility of a source. If any of these criteria is questionable, it is advisable not to use the resource.
||Question(s) to ask
||Issues to note
||Who is the author?
- Is the name of the author(s), organisation or institution responsible for producing the resource given?
- What qualifications or credentials does the author have to give them authority to write on the subject
- What is the author’s affiliation?
- Check the websites URL or domain name.
- .com - commercial companies - treat material from commercial companies with caution.
- .ac, .edu - higher education institutions - material from reputable educational institutions may be trusted.
- .org - originally for advocacy websites such as non-governmental organisations but now unrestricted - treat material with caution.
- .gov - government entities - provide official material which may be trusted.
- Check the site's “About Us” tab to get information on the purpose of the site.
||How up-to-date is the source?
- Check dates created or dates last updated.
||How reliable is the information?
- Are there obvious mistakes (eg. spelling or grammar)?
- Can the information provided be verified against other sources?
- Are sources of factual information or statistics cited?
- Has the author used references?
||Is the information provided biased?
- Check the language used for bias.
- Check for the purpose of the website.