Evaluating websites


The web provides access to some excellent information… and some which is out of date, unsupported or just wrong! How can you tell which are the good sites?

Here are some evaluation criteria to use with any website that you are unsure about. Print this page (by clicking on the printer icon above right) out and use it when evaluating a website for real.

Criterion Questions to ask when applying the criterion The website you are evaluating
Intended audience Who is the intended audience? Is this an appropriate site to use in academic work?
Authority and reputation Who is responsible for writing the material?  Are they qualified in the subject area? Is there bias to the site? Does the site give contact details and links to more information about who has provided the site?
Subject coverage Is it an overview, or an in depth look? Is the subject well covered? How does this site compare with others on the same subject?
Accuracy Has the information on the site been through any editing or peer reviewing process? Is the information based on research? Are there references, or links to research? Is there a bibliography? Are there spelling or grammatical errors? Is the information factual or opinion?
Currency When was the information written? Is there a date when the site was last updated?  How frequently is the site updated? If there are references to research, how recent are they?
Ease of use Is the site easy to navigate? Is it easy to find what you want? Does the site take a long time to download? Are images used to illustrate points, or merely as decoration?

This set of criteria is based on Evaluation guidelines from the module handbook for MG2050: Current issues in medical genetics.

Other sets of evaluation criteria are available. You might try:

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