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SPC 4517: Rhetoric of Argument: Websites

Research guide for Professor Murray's Spring 2016 course.

Website Evaluation Basics

There are several similar ways to remember the criteria for evaluating websites. Click on the Title of each for more explanation and a PDF handout.

CRAAP (Cal State Universiy-Chico)

  • Currency
  • Relevance
  • Authority
  • Accuracy
  • Purpose

5 Questions (Univ. of California, Berkeley
Click here for a checklist 

  • What can the URL tell you? (domain, publisher)
  • Answer these questions- scan perimeter of page (about us, philosophy, background, biography, currency, credentials, etc.)
  • Look for indicators of quality information (links, documentation/footnotes, credibility)
  • What do others say? (linking pages, listed in a reputable directory, what others say about the author)
  • Does it all add up? (why was page put on web, purpose, is this as reliable as resource as you would find in a library?)

6 Questions (UW-Madison Libraries) 

  • Who - created the page/site? Look for an "About us"? What are author's/organization's qualifications?
  • What - is page/site about? Does it have info you need?
  • Where - is the info coming from? Check the URL/domain, look up domain owner
  • Why - is the site on the web? How does it affect the info? Look for purpose, mission, and advertising. Is the site being persuasive?
  • When - was the site created/updated? Is the date important for the timeliness of the content?
  • How - accurate or credible is the page? How would I cite it? Are there spelling or grammar errors on page? Can I verify the info from another source?

CARRDSS (Joyce Valenza - 7 criteria for web evaluation)  
For a PowerPoint on this system, click here.               

Need help with the terminology used? Click here for a glossary