Process Guide #3: Evaluating Web Pages

Did you know that anyone can write and publish a web page? Because of this, it is important that you and your teacher use web sites that are created by people who are are qualified to be writing on the subject matter. For example, would you rather use information on the human body written by a doctor, or someone who has just been to the doctor?

The following are a list of questions you need to consider when evaluating at a web page along with some tips and things to look for.

  1. Who wrote it?
    • Is he/she an expert in the field? A professor or teacher? Or just someone with a little interest in the area?
    • Is there biographical information available?
    • What exactly do we know about the author?
    • Unless the web page is part of a larger site (e.g. an encyclopedia or journal), there must be an author cited.

  2. Who is publishing it?
    • Has an individual just put up his/her own site? Or is it part of a university or company site?
    • If you come across a geocities, angelfire, tripod, or aol site, you need to remember that anyone can (and does) create web pages on these sites.
    • If in doubt of the source, try going to the base site (i.e. If this site ends up being just a web page provider, think twice about using the information.

  3. Is there an opinion being presented?
    • Who is providing the information?
    • Do they have any self interest in the way they present the information? (e.g. Watch out for information on smoking from a tobacco company!)

  4. How old is the web page?
    • When was the information published?
    • There should be a date somewhere on the page, especially if the page contains statistics or other time sensitive material.

This page was designed by Dan McDowell for the Triton and Patterns Projects of San Diego Unified School District. Last updated July 5, 1999.

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