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Evaluating websites: APA referencing

Evaluating websites

Evaluating websites

The easiest way of evaluating the information you find on websites is to ask yourself the following five questions:

Who

  • Who is the author? (does it say?)
  • Are they qualified?
  • Who is the sponsor? (i.e. who is paying for the site)
  • Are they reputable / trustworthy?

What

  • What topics are covered? (what is not covered?)
  • How in-depth is the information?
  • How accurate is the information? (not everything on the page will be new to you, does what you are reading tally with what you have read elsewhere?)

Where

  • Where is the page from?
  • Is there regional bias? (e.g. a page from Britain or America might not be consistent with Australian experiences).

When

  • Is the page dated? If so, when was the last update?
  • How current are the links? (“dead” links can indicate poor or slow updating)

Why

  • What is the purpose of the website?
  • Is it trying to: Sell me something? Persuade me of something? Entertain me? Inform me? Educate me?
  • Is it factual? Or opinion?
  • How might the purpose change the information, how the information is presented, or make it biased?

Referencing a website

Referencing a website

Tips for finding information

  • The top of the page will often give you sponsor information
  • Government websites are sponsored by the Government (State, Federal or Local) and are authored by the department.
  • Try looking at the bottom of the page for copyright information – this will often give you the date and author.
  • Check to see if the page has ‘contact us’ or ‘about us’ information – this will often give you the author’s details and place of publication.

Evaluating websites by Gulf Coast State College Library

Credible Websites? from Hartness Library, Vermont Tech