How to Evaluate a Website


Evaluating information found on the Internet is very important. Many new websites are created on an hourly basis and not all of them provide information that is accurate. There are many ways to be sure that information found on the Internet is trustworthy. The CARS model for evaluating websites is an excellent tool for determining the credibility of information provided by a certain website. Read on to learn how to evaluate a website.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer
  • Internet access
  • Common sense
  • Determine the credibility of the source. Researchers should be aware that .com and .net are not as credible as .org, .gov, and .edu. In addition, researchers should check the credentials of the author. Is the author a full professor at a university or a medical doctor? In short, is the author an authority on the subject? Also, another crucial step in identifying credibility is to be sure that the author has provided adequate and authoritative sources. In other words, the website needs to provide evidence that they have done their research.

  • Determine the accuracy of the source. Does the author provide facts to back up their assertions? There needs to be adequate evidence that backs up the author's purpose in creating the website.

  • Evaluate reasonableness. Has the author provided an unbiased statement of the facts and opinions? It is essential that the author be "fair, balanced, objective, reasoned, no conflict of interest" (McGraw/Hill). By insuring the reasonableness of a website, the researcher is able to determine if the website is a credible source or not.

  • Evaluate Support when using the CARS model. Put simply, this is the list of references and citations that the author used in their own research on the topic. A short list of documentation may or may not indicate credibility. The researcher needs to take into account the credibility of the documentation the author lists. Documentation from .com sources is not going to pass the Support test like .gov sources would.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use common sense when evaluating a website.
  • Check out other methods for evaluating a web site. There are many.
  • Don't believe everything you read on the Internet.
  • Don't contribute to the plethora of inaccurate information on the Internet by posting things you have not researched.
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