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HDFS 3210 Susan Talley: Websites

[HDFS|3210|Susan Talley]

Should I trust a website?

First identify what you're looking at, be it a personal blog, a public "ask us" site, a newspaper or blog article, a sales site, a government or non-profit website, an educational site, etc.

Then, ask yourself a few questions to evaluate the site. You can always ask a librarian or your instructor for more help!

Where is the website coming from or who is the author?
Look for clues like…

  • an “About” or “More about the Author” link
  • the domain name (.edu, .com, .mil, .gov, .org)

Does the website present a certain bias or specific opinion?
Look for clues like…

  • links or references to other websites or sources that might be associated with specific biases
  • the language being used

Can you tell when it was published?
Look for clues like…

  • phrases that include the words “updated” or “published”
  • specific dates

Who is the target audience for the website?
Look for clues like…

  • references to specific organizations or groups of people
  • advertisements that might be targeting specific groups

What happens when you Google the site name, organization name, or author/founder name?
Look for clues like...

  • few results or limited details
  • news coverage or controversy surrounding the site, organization, or author

Can you fact check the information on the website?

  • Does the website cite its sources?
  • Can you find the information elsewhere?
  • If the website is reporting original content, can you tell how the authors got their information?