Website Articles May Not Be Accurate
Because anyone can create a website with no checks for accuracy, take caution when using a website for a source. While website articles can be a good source of information, they are more likely to have inaccuracies compared to peer-reviewed journals or reputable newspapers. However, there are ways to check to see if the website article is accurate.
Look at the Domain
A domain is the last three letters of a URL. For example, Google is .com. A .com website can generated by anyone and may have little checks for accuracies. Meanwhile, these types of domains are far more likely to have accurate and relevant information:
|.gov||Website information comes from an government agency||irs.gov|
|.edu||Website information comes from an education source like a college, school, or university||qvcc.edu|
|.org||Website information comes from an official nonprofit organization||ecosia.org|
Evaluate The Website
To check if a website is a good source, be sure to ask the following questions in these categories:
Are there sources or links on the website that back up their claims?
Do you see citations (MLA, APA, Chicago) or a Works Cited section?
Is the author an expert in this field of content?
Is there any information regarding the background of the author?
Does the author have any qualifications, awards, or credentials?
Does the article feel bias?
Is the article more interested in selling a project rather than provide information?
What is the main point of the article? Is it more focused on supplying facts or just opinions?
How old is the article? Can you find a "last updated" note?
If this article is very old, how relevant is it now? Is it still useful?
Compared to other sources on this topic, how useful is this source?
Are there other sources that cover this topic better? More accurately?
Evaluate the information
Sometimes you will need to evaluate the information not only based on the place you originally located the information, but also the overall context of the information. How can you tell if a website that you would like to use looks like it is credible but still contains questionable information. Even the best of us can be tricked into believing and re-posting bad information!