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Philosophy Resources: Evaluating Web Resources

What you need to know to do write philosophy papers and do research in philosophy at USD.

Evaluating Web Resources

Be a smart surfer!  Ask yourself these questions before using a source.


  • To whom is the site directed? – children, adults, students; a certain ethnicity, gender, or political affiliation? 
  • Is it understandable by the layman, or is it highly technical requiring specialized knowledge?


  • Is the author of the site listed?
  • Is the author real?
  • Can you determine the author's expertise?
  • Is contact information given – phone number, address, e-mail?
  • With what organization is the author associated?


  • Does the language, tone, or treatment of its subject give the site a particular slant or bias?
  • Is it designed to sway opinion? Organizational affiliation can often indicate bias.
  • Are potential objections taken seriously?


  • If other sources are cited, click the links to make sure they exist. 
  • Do a Google search on any people cited, to verify they actually said what the author is claiming they said.


  • Is the site up-to-date with working links?
  • Are dates given for when it was created and last updated?
  • Is the topic current?


  • Is the site an in-depth study of the topic going several pages deep, or is it a superficial, single-page look at the subject?
  • Are statistics and sources referenced properly cited?
  • Does the site offer unique information not found anywhere else, e.g., print sources?

Other Sources

Other Guides for Evaluating Websites

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