Use the following criteria for evaluating the validity of Internet content:
- Authority & Authorship - Is there a clearly defined author of the content, and if so, what are his or her credentials? Is there an "About" section listed on the site? Can the authors be contacted?
- Bias - Is there a pursuit of objectivity in the content that is presented? Or is there a noticeable bias or implicit agenda on the part of the author(s) that is discernible?
- Relevancy - Is the content current enough or even pertinent to the subject to support the claims of the authors? How often is the content updated?
- Accuracy - Are the proposed conclusions verifiable from the data presented? Is any data and accompanying references presented? Can fact be adequately separated from opinion?
Also known as the CRAAP Test for evaluating information, use this set of criteria to maintain a critical focus on whatever sources are used in your research.
Other considerations for evaluation:
- What is the domain of the site's URL (.com,.edu,.org,.net,.gov)?
- Are there numerous broken links across the site?
- Are there advertisements on the page which may promote an agenda?
- Does the site rely too heavily on extra, downloadable software?
Other helpful sites
Evaluating Web Pages: Techniques to Apply & Questions to Ask - University of California, Berkeley
Evaluating Information Found on the Internet - Johns Hopkins University