Evaluating a Website

evaluating a website

Taken from a video seen here on how to evaluate information found on the internet. The above graphic design was made using a program called Inspiration. You can download and use a free trial of this program, and it is great for use in educational settings.

Most of the information provided is pretty standard for people who have used the internet for information. In the example used in the video, if you go to martinlutherking.org, it’s pretty obvious to most people that this is not a website one would want to use in a research paper. As I jokingly said to my husband: “I’m pretty sure any website that has a “Rap Lyrics!” link under a picture of Martin Luther King Jr. is not a reputable site.”

With all jokes aside, I do think the 4 key categories of judgement are useful in arguments. For example, I will see to this day many people use blatantly biased sites as their “proof” that their argument is valid. We see this a lot when it comes to controversial, emotion driven topics such as the abortion debate, or gay marriage.

The other points are also very useful in discerning a website’s validity. Is it current? Information and science is continually changing, and a website from 2001 may contain obsolete information. Can the author of the website be clearly identified? What are his or her credentials and what authority does he/she have on the subject?

What about sources? Are there any? Are they reputable? Are they clearly linked? A good argument will always have sources to back it up, and these sources will follow the same guidelines we use for judging the quality of a website.