Whether searching for school, work or personal reasons, all of us can say we have encountered websites that led to false information. When browsing recreationally, this is not so much of an issue; however, when it is important that the information you seek is factual and credible there are some things to be on the lookout for.
Accuracy - The author or entity that created the content should be crystal clear. This is usually presented in a "About Us" or "Mission" section of the website. Additionally, there should be a way to contact the author/organization. If it cannot be determined who or what generated this content, it is probably because they do not want you to know.
Authority - The credentials / expertise of the author or organization should be available. Further, sources should be listed that describe where any "facts", graphs or statistical information is coming from. Sometimes here it is helpful to search within .edu, .org or .gov domains.
Objectivity - Does the site provide true content or is it just an “ad”? Is the content objective and unbiased? Note: It's not that a biased website contains false information; rather, it does not present both sides of the story. When first trying to ascertain the facts of something, it's important to be presented with balanced content.
Currency - When was the last time the website was updated? If there are dead links or obviously outdated content, this should be a sign that this website is not being properly maintained.
Coverage - Is there a balance of text vs images? Are there citations that could lead to additional information on the topic? In other words, you should not be asked to pay for content or install any software out of the ordinary to view the website.
*Compiled by Kapoun, Jim. "Teaching undergrads WEB evaluation: A guide for library instruction." C&RL News (July/August 1998): 522-523.
This video uses the following criteria - which are similar to the CRAAP test.
The last three letters of a web address reveal the content of the web site.
|Domain extension||Type of institution, industry, business, etc.|
|.name||registered by an individual|
|.pro||professionals such as lawyers, doctors, and accountants|
|.int||registers treaty organizations|
Domain Names are registered. To read more about domains and who registers them, check the site for the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority at: http://www.iana.org/
Register.com allows you to search by a web address to verify the contact and issuing organization information. Check the domain name you'd like to verify. Click on the "taken" button; click on "to access the WHOIS information", and you will get a complete description of who is behind the page.
Finding Credible Websites Using Advanced Google Search
As you modify anything in the advanced search screen, you can see how it is modified within the basic Google search box. After a while you'll become an expert on typing your advanced searches in right from the basic search box! Click search below, to give it a try!