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REA 112HP - Northwest - Annotated Bibliography: 6. Relevant, reliable website

The ABC Test: Guidelines for Evaluating Websites

When evaluating web sources or any other information sources, use the following A.B.C.'s to help evaluate the information you find:

Authority: Who is responsible for the information?

  • It is someone passing themselves off as an expert? 
  • Is there an organization who is the authority for the site? 
  • Does the site provide an official name or any contact information?
  • EXAMPLE: National Institutes of Health

 Bias: What is the purpose?

  • What is the purpose of the information? 
  •  Is it to inform, teach, sell, entertain or persuade?
  • Does the information seems objective or one-sided so are they bias?
  • EXAMPLE: Veterans for a strong America

Credibility: Where does the information come from?

  • What are the author's or organization's credentials?
  • Do they provide links to credible sources or cite them?
  • Are the links functional?‚Äč
  • When was it last updated? 

Website Evaluation Handout

Domain Names

The URL for a website can tell you a lot about the purpose of a webpage. 

.com = commercial site

.net =network provider

.org =organization

.edu =education - school or university

.mil = military website

.gov = government website

.com, .net, and .org sites are less regulated, meaning anyone can register for a website with that domain.  .edu, .mil, and .gov sites are MORE REGULATED, and tend to be more reliable. 

What about Wikipedia?

Wikipedia is a free, online encyclopedia that contains articles about nearly any topic.  It may be tempting to use it as a resource for an assignment, but keep in mind that most instructors WILL NOT accept wikipedia as an acceptable source. 

Why?  Wikipedia entries can be edited by anyone that has access to a computer and creates a wikipedia account.  This often compromises the quality of information that may appear in Wikipedia entries. The last thing you want to do is to use false information in your assignments.