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Evaluating Sources: Evaluating Websites

Learn how to recognize whether the information you are accessing is credible and appropriate for your assignment.

At A Glance

Many websites can be disregarded quickly and before you spend the time evaluating the information it provides. Here are some items to look for as soon as you open a website:

  • Domain extensions - look at the ending of the website's URL. These domain endings indicate the following:
    • .com = for-profit organizations or commercial businesses
    • .edu = educational institutions
    • .gov = government agencies in the U.S.
    • .org = non-profit organizations
    • .mil = U.S. military organizations 
  • Typos - if there are glaring misspellings or grammatical errors this can be a red flag that the website may not be credible
  •  Currency - at the bottom of most web pages you will find the date the page was last updated. Websites that have not been updated in recent months or longer may not be the best source of information depending on your topic.
  • Look and navigation - while not all credible websites will necessarily look phenomenal, the look and ease of navigation should be professional and intuitive. If the site looks cluttered, messy, and is confusing to navigate through you may want to try another website.
  • Compare and Contrast - Another good way to evaluate a website is to compare it to other sites on the same subject or topic. Open 2 or 3 websites and look over them, noting any major differences. Are the facts different? Is there an apparent bias on any of the web pages? 

Does it Pass the CRAAP Test?

CRAAP is an acronym used to evaluate your sources. Learn more about this useful test by watching this short video and downloading the worksheet.

Fact-Checking Websites

The following websites are reliable sources for fact-checking: