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Psychology: Web Site Evaluation

Five Criteria for Evaluating Web Pages

Evaluation of Web documents How to interpret the basics

Adapted from: Jim Kapoun Teaching Undergrads Web Evaluation: a Guide for Library Instruction (BROKEN). College and Research Libraries News 59, no. 7 (July/August 1998).



  • Who wrote the page and can you contact him or her? Was it published in a book or anthology?

  • What is the purpose of the document and why was it produced? Was the purpose to inform or to advertise or to promote a product?

  • Make sure author provides e-mail or a contact address/phone number.

  • Know the distinction between author and Webmaster.

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  • Who published the document? Is it a 13 year old who is interested in finding a cure for cancer or a doctor who is doing state-of-the-art research.

  • Check the domain of the document, what institution publishes this document? Does a University server host the content or an ISP?

  • What credentials are listed for the author(s)? An expert in the field (a scholar) or just someone who is interested in the topic

  • Check URL domain.

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  • Is the information biased?

  • Are they trying to sell a product or service?

  • What opinions (if any) are expressed by the author?

  • View any Web page as you would an infomercial on television.

  • Who is the audience?

  • ex: If this is information about the health hazards of sweeteners, would you trust the Splenda web site or Health Canada or the FDA?

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  • When was it produced?

  • When were links and pages last updated?

  • Any dead links?

  • Is content current?

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  • Are the links (if any) evaluated and do they complement the document's theme?

  • Is the information presented accurate?

  • If page requires special software to view the information, how much are you missing if you don't have the software?

  • Is it a free site?

  • Is it accessible through any web browser?

  • Is there a text only version to the site?

  • Are there ALT tags for images?

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