Evaluation Wizard

about this tool
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About this Wizard Tool

Use this tool to evaluate Web pages. Fill in the site URL you are evaluating, then select three criteria for your evaluation. Click on Help for ideas what to evaluate. Sometimes one criteria is enough--you'll find a red flag and have no need for further study to know that the information should not be trusted. If you want to print a report of your findings, use the Publish button. Include your name if you want it to appear on your evaluation (if you need to hand in your work for an assignment).

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2. Choose three to evaluate

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Author

Knowing who wrote or created the information is essential to understanding whether the information can be trusted. To evaluate an author, consider these questions:

  • How much experience does the author have in this area?
  • What is the author's educational background?
  • What is the author's occupation?
  • Does the author present a fair or biased perspective on the topic?
  • Does the author appeal more to emotions than to reason?
  • What is the author's reputation among other authorities in this area?

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Publisher

Knowing who is responsible for putting the information available online is helpful in determining if the information is credible, objective (or biased) and respected by other authorities.

  • What is the publisher's reputation for printing resources on this topic?
  • Is this site sponsoring the author's page or just providing Web space?
  • What is the publisher's or organization's mission?
  • Does the publisher provide contact information?

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Publication Date

Knowing when the information was created or last modified is crucial in knowing if the information is fresh enough to be relevant or still be accurate.

  • Can a date of publication be found?
  • Is the date of publication or last update recent enough to be useful?
  • Was this information previously published elsewhere? If so, has the material been plagiarized (no source cited)?

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Backlinks

Knowing who links to the page you are evaluating and understanding why they do helps in determining if the information can be trusted.

  • Do reliable sites link to this page?
  • Do the links support or contradict the author's claims?
  • Do these pages add any new information or perspectives on the topic?
  • Do links on the page point to reliable information on other sites?

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Fact Checking

Knowing if the information published is ACCURATE and can be verfied by other authorities increases its trustworthiness.

  • Are the facts correct?
  • Can the facts be verified? Do other (independent) sites provide the same information?
  • Does the author provide data or external sources to support opinions or conclusions?
  • Do the author's conclusions follow from the facts?
  • Are there significant spelling or grammatical errors?
  • Is there a way to contact the author or publisher to check the information?

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