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?