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Disruptive Nature of Information Technology: Evaluating Websites

resources and "how to" information for this class

Is This a Reliable Website?

Below are some criteria to consider when trying to determine the reliability of a website.

Source/Authority

Who is the author or producer of the website?  What is the domain name?  What are the credentials of the website's author?

Common domain names:  .edu- educational institutions

                                          .com- commercial enterprises

                                          .gov- U.S. government entities

Hints to help:  1.  Look for an "About Us" link at the top or bottom of a page

2. Go to http://www.internic.net/whois.html  to search for your domain name (i.e., URL) registration.  Just type in the top level and second level of the URL.  For example, just type tcu.edu  to search for information on www.tcu.edu

Objectivity

What is the stated purpose of the site? Check  What position or opinion is presented and does it seem biased? What kind of sites does this one link to?

Hints to help:  1.  In google, type link:www.tcu.edu to see what websites are linking to your website.  If a controversial organization is linking to your website, this could indicate a lack of objectivity on your site.

2.  Look for these symbols in the URL: ~, %,  users, members.  Often these indicate that you are on a personal page for someone affiliated with the network.  For example, home.gwu.edu/~carson  shows that someone named Carson has space on the host computer at George Washington University.  You would want to check Carson's credentials.

Accuracy

Is the information correct?  Can you verify the information?

Hints to help:  There are lots of websites dedicated to revealing hoaxes/viruses/scams.  Here are a couple.

http://hoaxbusters.org/       http://www.snopes.com/snopes.asp

 

Currency

How current is the information?  When was the last time the website was updated?  When was the website created?

Hints to help:  1.  Look for dates at the top or bottom of the page.

2.  If links on the page are not working properly, there is a good chance the website has not been updated recently.

 

Scope

Does the website cover all aspects of the topic?  Is a critical piece of information being left out?