8. Evaluating Internet Sources Worksheet


Evaluating Internet Sources

Freshman Research Paper


NAME: ________________________

PERIOD: ____ DATE: ____________

Because you will be writing a scholarly paper, it is important that you ________________ the sources that you use in your paper, especially those you find on the Internet.

 Use the 5 “W”s of website evaluation to help you be critical of free web/internet sources.

The first “W”: _____________


What do you know about the author?


Are the author’s

________________________________________________ enough to assure you that the information in this source is reliable and accurate?


If there are no credentials listed for the author, does the site have a reliable ______________



An ________________________ with no additional information is not sufficient for assessing the author’s credentials.

B. Look for clues to answer the question who?

1. Words and phrases to look for:About us, Who Am I, FAQs, For More, Company Information,

Profiles, Our Staff, Home

2. Email the author: You can write a polite email asking for more information.

C. More clues . . .

1. Do a link check. In Google or AltaVista type _________________________________.

Your results will show which other sites have chosen to link to this page.

If ______________________have linked to a site, that provides a clue about the site’s credibility.

2. Does the site appear in major subject directories like Librarians Index to the Internet


D. Truncate the URL

Go from: http://www.unmuseum.org/bigfoot.htm

TO http://www.unmuseum.org

Evaluating Internet Sources

Freshman Research Paper

NAME: ________________________

PERIOD: ____ DATE: ____________

II. The second “W”: _____________ is the purpose of the site and how accurate is it?


What is the ___________________ of the site (e.g. advertising, informational, persuasive, etc.) and does that purpose fit your paper?


Can the _______________ of facts, statistics and other information be verified through other sources?


Do there appear to be _________on the page (spelling, grammar, facts) that make this site a poor choice?

III. Looking closely at the URL can help you with the “what” question!!!


gov, .mil, .us: these are ______________________________ sites and you will need to ask yourself if the site has a political agenda and if the documents are unbiased.


.edu: these are _______________________sites and you will need to ask yourself if the person maintaining the site is actually affiliated with the institution and is posting reliable information.


.org: these sites are sponsored by an ________________________ and you will need to ask yourself if this organization is reliable and reputable enough to trust the information.


.com: this is a _______________________ site and you will need to ask yourself if the corporation sponsoring the site has anything to gain from the information its posting.


.net: this site is part of a _____________________ and you will need to ask yourself whether this network is reliable since .net sites are often homepages that individuals post for very little money.

III. The third “W”: ________________


When was the site ________________________________? Undated factual and statistical information is no better than anonymous information; don’t use it.


Is the information ________________________ for your paper’s purpose?

IV. The fourth “W”: ________________ did the site get its information? What are its sources?

A. Are there indicators of quality information such as a __________________________________


B. Are these sources _________________________? Can you, your teacher or librarian verify them?

V. The fifth “W”: _______ should (or shouldn’t you) use this site for your scholarly research?


Your answers to the previous questions should enable you to answer the question: _____________



Your teacher will evaluate your work based on the quality of the sources you select. Don’t settle for good enough!!!


Remember, the internet (free web) is NOT your only choice. Use print sources and subscription databases since these have already been evaluated for their credibility and content.