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Evaluating Web sites

As with any source, Web sites vary when it comes to presenting high quality information about a particular topic.  Since Web sites are frequently used for research, students should learn how to evaluate the sites they encounter.  This activity provides a framework for evaluating Web sites as sources of information.

pROCEDURE
  1. Have students read Evaluating Web Pages or Five Criteria for Evaluating Web Pages. Take note of the definitions of the following terms:
    • Authority
    • Accuracy
    • Objectivity
    • Currency
    • Coverage
  2. Assign students to groups of three, giving each student in each group a letter. Each letter corresponds to a category or categories, as follows:
    • A = authority and accuracy
    • O = objectivity
    • C = currency and coverage
  3. Tell students to work independently, and visit each of the designated Web sites you assign.  Students should evaluate each site based on the assigned category or categories. Students should select a score of 0-3 to each site in their assigned category or categories (with 1 being the lowest and 3 being the highest, or best score). Use the following guidelines in the scoring process:
    • 0 = does not meet the criteria
    • 1 = meets some of the criteria
    • 2 = meets most of the criteria relevant to this particular site
    • 3 = meets or exceeds the relevant criteria for this particular site
  4. Have students share their findings with the other members of their group and explain why they gave each site the score that they did. Then add up the total of points each site received (from all group members) and write the total score in the last column of the chart below.
  Authority Accuracy Objectivity Currency Coverage Total
Web site #1            
Web site #2            
Web site #3            
Web site #4            

Questions to consider

  1. Was the Web site with the highest score the "best" site? What made it a good site?
  2. Would you use the Web sites? Why or why not?
  3. Is there any value in using the Web site that received the lowest score? Why or why not?
  4. How will the process of evaluating these Web sites assist you in understanding the related case?
  5. How will you use this Web site evaluation guide in the future?
Additional resources for evaluating websites:
< Teaching strategies