Internet research often produces a large number of documents. Some of these documents may not be relevant or reliable. Below are some criteria to consider when reviewing and evaluating Internet documents.
- Source of the document. Is it reliable? What is its bias? What’s the purpose of the website?
- One quick way to check the source is looking at the web address: .edu (school or university), .gov (government body), .com (business or general site), .org (non-profit organization), although this is changing and sometimes the url ending does not mean that’s the source. You have to look at the website content carefully.
- Is the website being maintained?
- How relevant is the title and what’s the context in the document for where your search terms show up? Remember all web browsers like Google, Internet Explorer or Firefox have a find function so you can search for specific words in a page.
- Who wrote it? What do other people say about it? Who has linked to it?
- When was it written?
- Can you find the same information other places?
- Is there a way to contact the author or webmaster?