Skip to main content

Low Quality Websites: Content Farms: Evaluating Web Pages

A research guide that discusses content farms and how and why to avoid using them as resources.

Evaluating Web Pages

*Be skeptical when evaluating any information source.

*This is especially true for World Wide Web pages, because there is no quality control.

*Anyone can put information on the web.

Consider these factors when evaluating a source:

Credibility
Who is the author? Are any credentials given? Who is the publisher? If you can't tell or if there isn't any clear information, be suspicious. For web sites, you often have to check the home page or the "About Us" page to find who is behind a source.

Point of View or Bias
There's nothing wrong with a source having a point of view, but you need to be aware of it so you can investigate the other sides. Example: Information on gun control from the National Rifle Association.

Timeliness
Think about your topic and how important recent information is to it. For an art history project , it probably isn't very important. For a paper on genetic engineering, it is very important.

Accuracy
This is the ultimate point. But you may not know enough about a topic to judge. Look for solid evidence, such as research studies and statistics. Is there a bibliography or reference to other sources the author used? These indicate the information is based on research rather than just opinion.

Clues

There is no universal symbol to designate quality web pages, but here are things you can look for to help you determine if a web page is appropriate or not.

Credibility

  • Links titled "About the Author," "Background," etc.
  • Contact information
  • Name recognition
Point of View:
  • Domain names (.gov. .edu, .org)
  • Statements of purpose ("About Us" "Philosophy")
  • Tone
Timeliness:
  • Dates (publication date, last update)
  • Active links
Accuracy:
  • Author's credentials
  • Credited and dated statistics or charts
  • Bibliography or references

Why evaluate websites?

 

Because anyone can contribute, and you don't want to monkey around when it comes to research!


ACC Web Site || Library Web Site || GET HELP! || Search the Library
Contact Us • © Library Services, Austin Community College