Web Resource Evaluation: A Tutorial

Using a website as a resource in a research or academic paper can be tricky unless you follow a few guidelines. Since anyone can publish on the web without any review or evaluation it is up to you to examine websites critically. You want to be alert to the accuracy, authority, objectivity or bias of your resources. This checklist can help you determine if the website is a source your professors would find acceptable.

Criteria to examine are listed below. Look at the sites you are considering as sources and review this list of questions. The more positive responses you generate to these criteria, the more confident you can be about the value and authenticity of these websites.

Authorship & Authority

Accuracy

Objectivity and Purpose

Currency of the website

These questions are a good beginning to determine if a website will be appropriate to use for your project. At Lehigh, the librarians do evaluate web resources and add quite a few to our online catalog.  The resources you discover this way should be more reliable and predictable, however it is still a good idea to be aware of the above standards for any website you visit.

If you are using MyLibrary in the Portal, to see evaluated web resources go to the Subject Reference channel.

If you’d like to learn more about this topic and the process of evaluating websites there are many useful tutorials which have been developed on this topic. Some interesting tutorials which expand upon this topic are listed below:

Other Resources: