Website Evaluation: Treasure v/s Trash



The World Wide Web includes a vast amount of information readily available.  Many students believe that using the Web is a quick and easy way to complete your research.  However, all Web resources are not created equal!  Learning to evaluate and carefully select your Web resources will lead to better research and higher quality products.  Some websites you access are obviously not of the best quality  - just by looking at the site's appearance.  What about "professional" looking sites?  How can you to identify a phony, biased, or outdated website?

Review the following powerpoint  and checklist with your students to learn techniques and criteria on how to evaluate the quality of  online sources:


1.  Website Evaluation Powerpoint

2.  Quality Site Checklist:  Another way to evaluate online sources


As a group,  evaluate the following websites using the student handout. Print two copies in order to evaluate the following two sites:  

Website Evaluation Form  


Sites to evaluate for practice:


1. Christopher Columbus -


2. Christopher Columbus -


Teen Read Week:  Read Beyond Reality Prize Drawing


RIT classes may view the following sites, participate/complete one handout per class, and submit answers with RIT teacher's name on the class handout to the media center by Thursday in order to be eligible to win goody bags.

As a class, view and evaluate the following sites.  Decide if the sites are real or hoax sites.  Give at least two reasons why - use the RADCAB checklist to defend answers and complete the following handout to be eligible for the Teen Read Week prize drawing.  Classes may submit their forms to Mrs. Symborski by Thursday, 29th in order to be eligible for the prize drawing.  The first teacher's handout drawn with all the correct answers will receive a class set of goody bags for all RIT students.

Before rating a website or judging whether the site is quality information, consider the following:


Questions to ask: So what? What are the implications?
Why was the page put on the web?
  • Inform, give facts, give data?
  • Explain, persuade?
  • Sell, entice?
  • Share?
  • Disclose?


 These are some of the reasons to think of. The web is a public place, open to all. You need to be aware of the entire range of human possibilities of intentions behind web pages.

Might it be ironic? Satire or parody?
  • Think about the "tone" of the page.
  • Humorous? Parody? Exaggerated? Overblown arguments?
  • Outrageous photographs or juxtaposition of unlikely images?
  • Arguing a viewpoint with examples that suggest that what is argued is ultimately not possible.


It is easy to be fooled - use your instincts, common sense, and background knowledge.

Is this as credible and useful as the resources (books, journal articles, etc.) available in print or online through the library?
  • Are you being completely fair? Too harsh? Totally objective? Requiring the same degree of "proof" you would from a print publication?
  • Is the site good for some things and not for others?
     Use RADCAB criteria:

  Relevant           Current

 Appropriate       Accuracy

   Detailed              Bias




**Class Handout:  Print, Complete 1 per RIT teacher/Class, Turn in by Thursday to be eligible for goody bags/prize drawing.  Use the following sites to complete Website Evaluation Class Handout:


Dog Island

Encyclopedia Mythica

Lip Balm Anonymous

Smithsonian Institute