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Research: Getting Started: Evaluating Resources

Helpful tools for beginning a research project. Useful for ENG 145 - English Composition and beyond.

Evaluating Web Content

A PDF from University Libraries, University at Albany, State University of New York.

Evaluation Checklist

Use this checklist when evaluating materials you find on the web.

What is the URL or Web address of the Web site you are evaluating?


What is the title of the Web site?



It is important to find out who is the author and what are the author's qualifications or expertise, in order to determine the credibility and reliability of the information you find on the website.

Who is the author of the Web site?

What part of the URL (Web address) gave you clues about authorship? Check all that apply:

(.com) a company (.org) non-profit organization
(.edu) academic institution (.uk) country sponsored site
(.gov) U.S. Goverment agency ( a personal Web Page
(.mil) U.S. military site Other?
(.net) network of computer  


What are the qualifications of the author or group that created the site?



Determine the purpose of the Web site by looking closely at the content of the information. Some sites provide links to information about our organization or a Mission Statement, detailing the purpose in creating the Web site, while the purpose of others might not be obvious at first.

What is the purpose of the Web page or site? 

  1. a personal Web page.
  2. a company or organization Web site.
  3. a forum for educational/public service information.
  4. a forum for scholarly/research information.
  5. for entertainment.
  6. an advertisement or electronic commerce.
  7. a forum for ideas, opinions or points of view.
  8. Other? Please explain:

In your own words, briefly describe the purpose of the Web site.

What does the Web site provide? 

  1. Balanced, objective or factual information.
  2. Biased, subjective or opinionated statements.

Are the arguments well supported?

Does the Web site provide any contact information or means of communicating with the author or Webmaster?



The currency or regularity of updating information is vital for some types of Web sites, and not so important for others. For example, Web sites that provide historical information, such as the presidential papers of George Washington, do not have to be updated as often as sites that provide news stories or stock market information.

When was the Web site last revised, modified or updated?

Is currency important to the type of information available on this Web site?

Is the site well-maintained?



Design, organization and ease of use are important considerations. Web sites can provide useful sources of information. However, if they are slow to load or difficult to navigate, search and read, then their contribution and usefulness will be lost.

In your opinion, how does the Web site appear overall?

Well designed and organized Poorly designed and organized
Easy to read and navigate Difficult to read and navigate
HELP screens are available HELP screens are unavailable
A search feature/site map is available A search feature/site map is unavailable 

 Thanks to the University of Maryland and the University of Dallas for providing the content for this tool.

Media Bias Chart 6.0


Applying the CRAAP Test to Evaluating Web Sites

When you search the Web, you’re going to find a lot of information . . . but is it accurate and reliable? You will have to  determine this for yourself, and the CRAAP Test can help. The CRAAP Test is a list of questions you can ask yourself in order to  determine if the information on a web site is reliable. Please keep in mind that the following list of questions is not static nor is it complete. Different criteria will be more or less important depending on your situation or need. So, what are you waiting  for? Is your web site credible and useful, or is it a bunch of . . . !

Currency: The timeliness of the web page. 

  • If relevant, when was the information gathered? 
  • When was it posted? 
  • When was it last revised? 
  • Are links functional and up-to-date? 
  • Is there evidence of newly added information or links? 

Relevance/Coverage: The uniqueness of the content and its importance for your needs. 

  • What is the depth and breadth of the information presented? 
  • Is the information unique? 
  • Is it available elsewhere, in print or electronic format? 
  • Could you find the same or better information in another source? 
  • Who is the intended audience? Is this easily determined? 
  • Does the site provide the information you need? 
  • Your overall assessment is important. Would you be comfortable using this source for a research paper? 

Authority: The source of the web page. 

  • Who is the author/creator/sponsor? 
  • Are author's credentials listed? 
  • Is the author a teacher or student of the topic? 
  • Does the author have a reputation? 
  • Is there contact information, such as an e-mail address? 
  • Has the author published works in traditional formats? 
  • Is the author affiliated with an organization? 
  • Does this organization appear to support or sponsor the page? 
  • What does the domain name/URL reveal about the source of the information, if anything? Example: .com .edu .gov .org  .net

Accuracy: The reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the informational content. 

  • Where does the information come from? 
  • Are the original sources of information listed? 
  • Can you verify any of the information in independent sources or from your own knowledge? 
  • Has the information been reviewed or refereed? 
  • Does the language or tone seem biased? 
  • Are there spelling, grammar, or other typos? 

Purpose: The presence of bias or prejudice/The reason the web site exists. 

  • Are possible biases clearly stated? 
  • Is advertising content vs. informational content easily distinguishable? 
  • Are editorials clearly labeled? 
  • Is the purpose of the page stated? 
  • Is the purpose to: inform? teach? entertain? enlighten? sell? persuade? 
  • What does the domain name/URL reveal about the source of the information, if anything? Example: .com .edu .gov .org .net 

*Modified version of CRAAP Test created by Meriam Library at California State University, Chico.