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Introduction to Research: Humanities and Social Sciences

Evaluating Web Resources

It's easy to find information on most any topic on the Web but whether the information found is reliable, up-to-date and unbiased is the question researchers face. Since anyone can post anything on the Web, it is very important to critically examine the information and the website. Use the following criteria to evaluate web resources.


  • Who is the author or creator?
  • What are the author's qualifications or credentials in writing about this subject?
  • How reputable is the publisher?
  • Are there organization affiliations? Are they reputable?
  • Does the information provide references or sources of data


  • What is the purpose of the information? Is it to inform, teach, sell, entertain or persuade?
  • Do the authors make their intentions or purpose clear?
  • Is the information fact, opinion or propaganda?
  • Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?
  • Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional or personal biases?


  • Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Is the information at an appropriate level (i.e. not too elementary or advanced?)
  • Have you looked at a variety of sources before determining to use this one?
  • Are the topics included explored in depth?


  • Where does the information come from?
  • Is the information supported by evidence?
  • Has the information been reviewed or refereed?
  • Can you verify the information in another source or from personal knowledge?
  • is the content primarily opinion? Or is it balanced with multiple points of view?
  • Does the language or tone seem unbiased and free of emotion?


  • When was the information published or posted?
  • Is it current enough for your topic?
  • Has it been revised or updated?

For more questions to ask when evaluating sources, check the guide, Criteria for Evaluating Information, created by OTIS College of Art and Design Library.