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Evaluating Websites

What does the address (URL) tell you?

· gov=government e.g., of congress - generally reliable sites from federal or local government agencies

· org=organization, often nonprofit e.g., Nations

· edu=educational e.g., of Kentucky – often reliable, but can also be personal web pages from faculty and students, not from the educational organization

· com=commercial e.g., Books – may exist strictly to sell services, but occasionally offer some useful information

· net=network e.g., Resources on the Web (often personal web pages)

· .uk=country outside the US e.g., .eg=egypt

Questions to ask:

  • Is this a site designed for the web, or a document originally published somewhere else?
  • Who is the author or producer? Is it an individual or group? Is it a commercial group trying to sell services?
  • If the author isn’t clear, is there someone you can email for additional information?
  • What is the authority or expertise of the individual or group that created the site?
  • Is any sort of bias evident?
  • When was the page produced? Mounted on the Web?
  • When was it last updated? (HINT: if you’re unable to find this information at the bottom of the page, look for dates within the site – if you can’t find any date, you have no idea how recent the information provided might be)
  • Is contact information for the author or producer available?
  • Is grammar and spelling acceptable? Language?
  • Is the information well organized and easy to follow?
  • Is the source of any statistical information clear?
  • Is documentation to other sources provided for any of the information?
  • Do graphics enhance the content? Are they distracting or too “busy”?
  • Do the links work?
  • Are the links relevant and appropriate for the site?
  • Are the links comprehensive or do they just provide a sampler?
  • Are the links evaluated in any way?

See also Evaluating Internet Resources and Sites: A Tutorial, from Purdue University.

Citing Websites

APA STYLE - Social Sciences

Cite in this form:

  • AUTHOR if hard to find, may find corporate author or group responsible for website or omit.
  • DATE of information, year, month. May be found near top or bottom line of Website
  • TITLE of article/item, (put in quotation marks in citation)
  • TITLE of Website, (italicized or underlined in citation)
  • URL - see the location line at the top of the screen
  • DATE when you saw the information on the Web

Sample Citation:

Barnes, S. L. (2004) . Black American Feminism: A Multidisciplinary Bibliography. Retrieved May 14, 2004 from University of California, Santa Barbara, Davidson Library Website: