Thématique: Evaluating sources
Criteria for determining the quality of a Web page
The art of how not to be fooled on the Net
  • Applying criteria to evaluate the quality of a web page
Which of the following indicate that you have found a reliable web page? (select all that apply)
The web page belongs to an internationally recognized organization
The date of the most recent update is mentioned at the bottom of each page
The author’s handle is mentioned, and he can be contacted using a form
There are many links pointing to Wikipedia articles
Fred found a web page and a quote he would like to use for his history paper. However, he can’t find the author’s name or the date on this page. What his best course of action? (one answer only)
Use the quote without mentioning that he didn’t write it
Use the quote and use the URL to indicate the source and the date you used the website
Find a quote on a different website
Ask your professor what he thinks of the website
Can you reference this web article in your research? (Select only one answer)

Extract of the webpage Cinnamon for weight loss: does it work? written by Sarah
Yes, because the author and date are mentioned
Yes, because the article references real studies done by scientists
No. It would be better to quote the cited articles
No, because it is clearly not a scientific website; it’s a website for the general public
(Log on to My Space to save your results.)

As Fred’s experience has shown us, it’s essential to evaluate the quality of the information you find on the web.

Before citing information from a website in your academic paper, apply the following criteria:

  • Author: What is his profession? Is he/she an authority in the field? Where does he work?
  • Website: Who owns it? What’s its purpose? Who’s the target audience?
  • Publication date: Is the information up to date?
  • Bibliographic references: Are there any? Are they complete and varied?
  • Structure and style: Is the tone correct? Is the information arranged in a coherent manner?

Each main point has corresponding criteria. Use the template document below to assess a web page’s quality and reliability.