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Evaluating Web Sources
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Evaluating Web Sources

We've vetted the sites we list carefully, but there are many more out there with useful information. Using a search engine such as Google (, you can find them on your own – but, first, a word of caution:

Be sure to evaluate every website you visit in order to judge its quality and reliability. The following questions can help:

  1. What is the URL or address for this site, and who hosts it? Looking at the URL can indicate what kind of institution hosts a site – for example, an educational institution (.edu), a non-profit organization (.org), a government office (.gov), or a commercial service provider (.com or .net). Knowing who hosts the site can give you an initial idea of what its purpose might be and what restrictions (if any) are placed on its content.
  2. Who created the site?
  3. What do you think is the main purpose of this site? Is it primarily informational (say, a government site with information on how to register to vote); persuasive (a site promoting a particular political candidate or cause); expressive (a blog informing readers meant to express one person's view of the world)?
  4. Is there any attempt to hide its primary purpose? This is hard to detect – by design – but there are sites that masquerade as one thing (a site offering advice on a medical conditiong) and are really something else altogether (promotion for a particular over-the-counter remedy).
  5. Is this site well put together? Are there obvious errors in the language it uses, or the facts it states? Is the design reasonably competent? Is it updated relatively frequently? If you have doubts on any of these scores, be cautious about relying on the information you find there.
See Using the Internet for additional suggestions on how to judge the quality or reliability of information on any website.

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