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Doing Research

Evaluate websites

When evaluating websites you need to consider eight important factors.

Check the table to see which factors and why are important.

 Factor  Explanation  Quick Check

Accessibility

Refers to how much time is required, so that you access the information you need.

Does the website work properly on all web browsers or require installation of software updates?

Authentication

Some websites block unauthorized users. This is, usually, the case with online professional journals.

Does it require an individual or institutional subscription to access their content?

Links to other sites

Websites that offer access to other links, does not necessarily offer rich content.

How relevant, current and functional these links are?

Structure

Refers to how well-organized the content of a website is. Well-designed features make the content visible.

Do tabs and navigation bars enhance the website and make the content appear in logical order?

Publisher | Host

Refers to identifying the hosting institution or organization. This reveals a lot about the focus, audience and possible bias associated the website.

Who is monitoring the content and the functionality of the website.

Readability

Refers to pages with distracting content like graphics, advertisements or using multiple colors.

Does it use coordinated color palettes and font sizes to facilitate the process of reading and locating information?

Stability of information

Refers to whether the information appearing on a website is always available. For instance, on a publisher’s site you may be able to access some articles for a particular period of time. However, publishers may remove this option after a while. Other sites may appear to have good information, but do not add new content.

Has the content it offers been revised or updated?

Style and Tone

Refers to grammatical errors, sentence structure, and punctuation. It also refers to the overall tone that it should have for its audience and purpose.

Does it have grammatical or structural errors? How should the tone be: objective or subjective, logical or emotional, intimate or distant, serious or humorous?

About URLs

URL (Uniform Resource Locator) is a reference to a web resource that specifies its location on the internet and how to retrieve it. Each URL has a domain name. Locating information on a website with a particular domain name doesn’t necessarily mean that the information is less biased than information found in other domains. The domain essentially reflects where the information is stored. It provides little information about the origin of the source Therefore, trying to determine the site’s sponsor or author is much more meaningful.

Watch the video to learn more about top level domains.

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