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Occasionally, Web sites pretending to be objective have a hidden agenda and may be trying to persuade, promote, or sell something.
- What is the purpose or motive for the site? (e.g., educational, commercial, entertainment, promotional)
- Is the site trying to sell you something?
- How easy is it to differentiate advertisement from content?
- Based on your knowledge, is the information factual, opinion, propaganda, et cetera?
- Who is the intended audience, and how is this reflected in the organization and presentation of the site?
- Is the author identifiable? Look for links that say "Who We Are," "About This Site" or something similar.
- Is there contact information for the author? (e.g., e-mail address, mailing address, phone number)
- What is the author's background? (e.g., experience, credentials, occupation, whether he or she has written other publications on the topic)
- Does the author cite his or her sources?
- Is this site linked to often by other sites?
- Do links on this site lead to other reputable sites?
- Are there spelling errors or incorrect use of grammar?
- What domain does the site belong to? (e.g., .edu, .gov, .com, .net, .org)?
The dependability of a Web site is important if it is going to be cited as a source in other works or recommended for use by others.
- Do most of the links on the page work?
- From your evaluation of currency and authority, do you think the site will be there next time you visit it?
- How often is the site updated?
- Do the links on the site work?
Grassian, Esther. Thinking Critically About World Wide Web Resources. Jun 1995.
Stebbins, L. F. (2006). Student guide to research in the digital age :How to locate and evaluate information sources. Westport, Conn.: Libraries Unlimited.