Evaluating information is a critical part of doing research, especially when you're looking at web pages. Below are some links to web sites that provide pointers on how to evaluate internet resources. It’s sometimes difficult to know if the information you find on a website is trustworthy. To determine a source’s authority, you need to find as much of the following information about the site as you can, and then make a judgment call:
Can you find the name of the person who authored the website? If the website is authored anonymously, what does that mean about the information you find? Sometimes, as in the case with AP articles and documents written by organizations, an individual name may not be present. In this case, you should be able to easily identify the group, company or organization that authored the website.
If the site was authored by an individual, is the author affiliated with an organization? Is the organization reputable? Have you heard of them? If not, can you find more information about the organization? If you can’t find anything else out about the organization, what does that mean about the information you find?
How current is this source? Has the content been modified recently? Has the site been sitting around gathering dust for a few years? If the site hasn’t been modified recently, try to decide if it should have been updated recently in order to stay current with the most up-to-date thinking on the topic.
Everything has a bias, and biases are not always negative. It is important to recognize what bias your information has, however. In order to get a balanced overview of your topic, try to find sources with different biases. There may be two or more sides to the story. Be aware of the different biases you find, and incorporate them into your understanding of the information you collect.