Web Research Tips

When you are evaluating a website as a research source ask yourself the following questions.

1. Who is the author? (It may be a group, rather than a person.) Beware of anonymous material!! What are this person/group’s credentials for publishing in this area? If this is a theological/scriptural/religious website, what is the theology of the author or sponsoring body?

2. What is the date of this information? (Note: the date of posting is not always the same as the date of the information itself. The date that the information was first made public is the more important of the two.)

3. Who is the publisher of this material? (This may be the same as the author, if the author is an organization.)

4. What is the scope of the website, i.e. what material is covered? If historical, what dates are included? If geographical, what areas are included?

5. How is the material arranged? Is the arrangement logical? Is it easy to use? Is the data accurate? How often is the material updated?

6. How will this website be useful to you or someone else?

7. Are there tools built into the website to help the user? (i.e. a keyword, or alphabetic or chronological searching tool.)

8. What are the graphics like? Are they easy on the eye? Attractive? Is unrelated advertising present? Does this website have sound effects or music? If so, does the sound add or detract?

9. Does the website contain hotlinks to other sites? Does it include lists of materials?

10. Would you recommend this website to someone else?