When conducting research on the web, how can you really be sure what you’re reading is accurate?
This is an important question to consider especially when researching the web for a school project or essay. So here are four questions to ask yourself to help you determine a website’s credibility:
Who is the Author?
Find out who authored the content. Once you determine who developed the content, you can then think about any biases they might have toward the content they are producing.
Who do they link to?
It’s easier to trust a website if they link to credible sources to back up their work. If the website is linking to websites filled with ads, be wary of the content. Authority websites should link to other trusted websites.
Is the website filled with errors?
Spelling errors, grammar mistakes, and broken links are a sure sign that something fishy is going on. If the organization is making a lot of mistakes on their website, it should signal that something might be wrong with the content they produce as well.
Do you trust the domain name?
Website addresses can easily fool you into thinking the content is reliable. Many people have a misconception that any url that ends in a .org should be reliable. That’s not true. Anyone can purchase a .org web address, so don’t think that extension makes it credible.
You can typically trust domains that end in .edu, but be aware that professors and students can have personal pages attached to .edu pages (which may not provide accurate information). You can usually rely on .gov sites because it’s produced by a government-affiliated website.
Overall, it’s important to be critical of any website no matter what the domain looks like.