One of the biggest problems that individuals have with websites is that they are not sure that the content that they receive is accurate. Here are some basic ways to evaluate a website.
- What does the domain name tell you? If the domain name includes .gov at the end it is a government website (www.irs.gov), if has an .edu it is educational (www.fau.edu), and .org is for non-profits (www.redcross.org). Remember that just because a site is a non-profit, doesn't mean it may not have bias, but in general these are more reliable sites. Sites that have a country code at the end .uk and .au for example, are not regulated strictly and you should take care to evaluate it further.
- Look at the URL (the web address located on the top of the page in the address bar). Does the URL have a name included like Yahoo, Geocities, etc.? Is there a personal name in the URL? That may give you a clue that it is a personal site and reflects the views of an individual person.
- Who wrote the page? Is there a page author listed? If there is no author, is there a company name? Is there contact information listed? If there is no one listed that takes responsibility for the page you may want take that into consideration.
Here are some links to reliable sites that will help you with your evaluation:
Cornell Web Evaluation Website
UC Berkeley Web Evaluation Tips
John Hopkins Evaluating Sources on the Internet