Website Evaluation and Citing Your Resources
    ~ Creating a Bibliography ~
    How do I cite a journal? A blog? A book? A video? An online library subscription?  
    Check out Noodle Tools for the answers!
    Who was responsible for gathering the information you see online?
    Check the URL (address) for clues!
    .com=commercial (This site may try to sell something like a product, service or advertising)
    .edu=education (This site is connected to a school or university)
    .k12=elementary (Made for or by a school district)
    .org=organization (This may try to inform you of a group's information, MAY be a non-profit organization. This domain extension was originally created specifically for non-profit organizations, but today it can be used by schools, communities, and even for-profit organizations as well.  Make sure to use the tips on the following page when using the information from these sites.)
    .gov=governmet (This is connected to a government site)
    Evaluate your Site! 
    Who found the information?  How do they know about the information? Is that person/company reliable? Where was the information gathered? When was the information put together? When was it updated? Why does this information help?  Is this good information?
     Is it an educational site?  Is it someone’s personal website?  Is it a joke/satire website?  Is it for entertainment purposes?  Is the website trying to sell a product?  Looking at the websites URL can help you determine this.
    What is the author's purpose? It's as easy as PIES!
    I nform
    E ntertain
    REMEMBER... ANYONE can publish something on the Internet and NO ONE really controls its content.  So, it is up to YOU, the researcher, to determine whether or not the information you find on the Internet is RELIABLE!

    So, how can you know which sites to trust?  Using government and educational sites is usually a good place to start, but you should still know how to verify the content on these sites, as well as any other sites you find in your research.  You should use the following 5 areas to evaluate a website before using its information in a paper, project, or even for your own personal use. 

    The 5 areas for determining a website’s reliability are:

    Authority: Who are the authors and what makes them experts?  If there is no author listed at all, be wary of that source!  If there is a name, what can you find out about that person?  Does that person have the educational background or expertise to make them qualified to provide information on that topic? 

    Accuracy: Are the facts accurate? Can you find info to verify what it says? It’s always good to use more than one source to verify any information you find on the internet.  Are the facts listed on the website cited?  Where did the author get those facts?

    Objectivity: What is the purpose of the site? What are the author's biases? Does the site explore more than one viewpoint?  If a site is providing only one side of an argument, make sure the facts are accurate and not just someone’s personal bias.  If you do use this information, make sure you explain that it is simply one theory or opinion, not necessarily fact, and cite your source.

    Currency: When was the page created or last updated? You don’t want to use information that is very outdated.  If you cannot find a publication date, be careful.

    Value: Was the site free of errors? Was it easy to navigate or did you have a difficult time finding what you were looking for?  Was the information on the site valuable to your research?  What is the coverage level of the information (too much, too little, just enough)  Was the site easy to read and understand or was it too advanced for you?


    Don’t get DUPED!

    A quick way to help you remember how to evaluate a website is to use the acronym DUPED.  You can quickly look for the following even before you start reading the information on the site.  If the site passes the DUPED test, you can use the criteria listed above to more carefully evaluate the website. 

    DDate published or last updated (quickly scan the page to see if you can find a publication date)
    UURL of website (what domain ending does the website use?)
    PPop-up ads on the webpage (be careful with websites that have many pop-up ads)
    EEmail address to contact someone (can you contact someone about this information on the site?)
    DDesigner or publisher of website (who is taking credit for the info on the site and what do you know about him/her?)

    DUPED Source: Laramie, T. S. (2011). Cross Curricular: DUPED? Website Evaluation. School Library Monthly28(3), 53-54.