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Research Guide: Pasadena City College Shatford Library

General guide on using the resources of PCC's Shatford Library to conduct research and find information.

Evaluate your web sources

Before you use a website for an assignment, ask yourself if the site is suitable as a research source. There are different ways to evaluate a website, but they all center around asking yourself questions about the site, who created it, when and why. Answering these questions will help you understand the website's:

  • Purpose: Why was it created?
  • Authority: What are the author’s credentials?
  • Scope/Coverage: What does it include and leave out?
  • Accuracy: Is the information provided correct?
  • Currency: When was it created or last updated?
  • Objectivity: What is the author’s or sponsor’s point of view?

Website Evaluation Method:
ABC (and D) of Web Site Evaluation

When evaluating a web site, see if you can identify the authority, bias, currency and documentation of the site. These elements will help you determine if the site is reliable.

A is for Authority

  • Who wrote the information?
  • Is the person qualified to write the information?
  • Information about a person/group can often be found under the “About Us” or “About Author” link on a web site.

B is for Bias

  • Does the web site present one side or one opinion on an issue?
  • Opinion might be useful for assignments like persuasive essays or debates.

C is for Currency

  • When was the information written or when was the site last updated?
  • Currency is particularly important when investigating current events.
  • For historical topics, information written during a past period might be appropriate.

D is for Documentation

  • Does the site list its sources? From where did it get its information?
  • Think of documentation as the site’s bibliography or works cited page.
  • You can visit the site’s sources to confirm that the information is reliable. 

Source: Oklahoma City Community College.

Website Evaluation Method:
The CRAAP Test

Evaluating Web Sites