Skip to Main Content

Internet Searching: Evaluating the Internet

A guide to effectively searching the Internet.

Evaluating the Web

The web has made it possible for anybody on the Internet to publish. Web sites rarely go through the exacting review process demanded by editors of print resources. It is therefore even more important to critically evaluate information you find on the web in terms of purpose, authority, scope, accuracy, and presentation.

After answering each of the questions listed below on the purpose, authority, scope, accuracy, and presentation of the web site, ask yourself if it is appropriate to use this web resource as evidence in support of your research?

If the answer is an unequivocal yes, great! If not, but you still feel the page has value, note your reservations.


  • What is the basic purpose of the web site? Is the purpose stated?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Is the web site designed to inform, explain, persuade, sell, entertain?


  • Who is the author?
  • What are the author's education, credentials, occupation, affiliations, other publications? Are these qualifications relevant to the information presented?
  • Who is the host? Is the host an educational institution (.edu), a non-profit organization (.org), a company (.com), the government (.gov), the military (.mil), or other?
  • Does the author's affiliation with an institution bias the contents of the resource?
  • Is the resource peer reviewed or edited? If so, by whom?
  • Is the site stable? Has it been there for a while and does it look like it's going to stay?


  • Is the topic covered comprehensively or selectively?
  • Is coverage regional, national, or international?
  • Is coverage recent or historical?
  • Is coverage up-to-date?


  • Is the information presented factual? Have you noticed any errors?
  • Has the information been altered from its original?
  • Does the author apply logic?
  • Does the author use inductive, deductive, or abductive reasoning?
  • Is the information supported with evidence? Are relevant and useful links provided?


  • Is the writing clear?
  • Is the page well organized and easy to navigate?