If the information in this post is helpful, you may also want to read my post Staying Ahead With Digital Research.
How can one determine whether or not a website is reliable?
Obviously if the website is part of library resources, students and parents can usually be assured of its quality. However, when a child sits down at a personal home computer, makes a general search on a topic for a school assignment, and begins clicking through results, understanding the characteristics that make a website reliable is critical.
Questions to Help Parents and Children Determine if a Website is Reliable …
- Is the site visually interesting with an organized layout?
- Does it balance writing with helpful illustrations?
- Is the writer qualified to be writing on the subject? How do you know?
- Can you identify facts and information about your topic that you already know are accurate
- Are the fonts simple, easy to read, and uncluttered?
- Is the site updated on a regular basis? How do you know?
- Are there irritating pop-ups and/or other distractions. (However be aware that newspapers do have these pop-up windows.)
More Questions to Help Parents and Children Determine if a Website is Reliable …
- Can you learn anything by studying the address? If Google is in the address can you find the original site?
- Does the website get to the point without rambling over too much information?
- Did a reliable person or organization develop the site, and does the about page provide information about person or organization?
- What three-letter ending does the address have? The most reliable are .org or .edu or .gov, but other reliable address endings, including .com and .net feature reliable information.
- Can a reader contact the authors of the page?
- Is the mission or stated purpose of the website easy to find and easy to understand?
Web Evaluation Resources for Parents
Web Evaluation Resources for Students