Evaluating Information Sources:

Applying Critical Standards to the Internet

It is important to understand that there is no single authority governing the explosion of resources on the Internet. In fact, the Internet itself is a network of networks which have different origins and purposes. Because anyone can be a "publisher" on the Net, thoughtful teachers and students will want to consider the source of any information they obtain. The skills students acquire in recognizing different types of publications can be applied to Internet sources as well.


What is the source of the information: did it come from an academic, government or commercial site or a Usenet newsgroup? If the information was obtained from a commercial site, what is the site designed to sell? Does that goal affect the quality or objectivity of the information provided?


Postings to Usenet newsgroups frequently reflect the author's individual opinion. What do you know about this author's credentials?


Is the information presented objectively, or does it reflect the biases of its author or web site? How thorough is the coverage compared to other sources?


If information about your topic is changing rapidly, how current is the information? How recently was the web site updated? Does the information you retrieved from the Internet add a significant perspective to your research?
More: Critical Evaluation Surveys at Kathy Schrock's Guide for Educators
CyberGuides for rating curriculum content and design of web sites.
Evaluating Educational Web Sites
Thinking Critically about World Wide Web Resources.

Go back to Searching the 'Net.