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ENGL 261 Research Guide: Evaluate Web Resources

Common Web domains

Recognizing a few top-level Web domains can help you evaluate the source:

  • .edu - web domain for institutions of higher education in North America
  • .org -  web domain for non-profit organizations
  • .gov - web domain for Unites States government agencies
  • .com - web domain for commercial websites

You can even restrict your Internet search to a particular domain using Google Advanced Search!

Evaluating websites

Evaluating What Your Find on Websites

The following guidelines are important to consider when evaluating websites (they help with articles and books, too!):


  • Is it clear who is responsible for the web page?
  • Is there a way of verifying the page’s sponsor? (An email address is not enough).
  • Is it clear who wrote the material?  Are their credentials clearly stated?
  • If the material is copyrighted, is the name of the copyright holder given?


  • Are the sources for any factual information clearly cited for verification?
  • Is the information clear of blatant grammatical, spelling and/or other typographical errors?
  • If there are graphs or charts are they clearly labeled?  Is source information given?


  • What is the purpose of providing the information?  (public service, profit, or persuasion)
  • Is the information free of advertising?
  • If there is advertising is it clearly differentiated from the informational content?


  • Are there dates on the page indicating when it was written?  When it was last revised? 
  • Are there indications that the material is kept current?


  • Is there an indication that the page is complete and not still under construction?
  • If there is a print equivalent, does the page state if the entire work is on the web or only parts of it?

(These criteria based on checklist in the book Web Wisdom: How to Evaluate and Create Information Quality on the Web by Jan Alexander and Marsha Ann Tate)

Evaluating Sources