Website Evaluation

C-A-R-S- stands for:

Credibility

* Does the site make a persuasive argument?
* Does the site offer compelling arguments and reasons for its conclusions?
* Does the site offer enough details to make a conclusion about its findings?

Evaluation

  • Identify the author and investigate reputation
  • Can you contact author or creator of site?
  • Any evidence of peer review?
  • Does it have a credible tone and writing style?
  • Are there critical comments or reviews posted about the site?

Accuracy

* Is the information provided correct and timely?
* Is the conclusion based on complete information?
* Is the site designed for readers of your level and competence?
* Does the site have a hidden (or not so hidden) agenda?

Evaluation

  • Look for dates on material on the site, last date updated, dates on interpretive information provided.
  • Has the source used known authorities on the topic?
  • Does the source rely on broad generalities and make sweeping statements that are not supported by facts?
  • Does the source posit one viewpoint without any reference to other sides?

Reasonableness

* Is the source objective?
* Is the source moderate or believable?
* Does the source contradict itself?

Evaluation

  • Does the site have a reputation for reliability and objectivity?
  • Could the information on the site be used on either side of an argument?
  • Does the source reveal its creator's world view or political agenda?
  • Is there a visible conflict of interest on the site?
  • Does the site use intemperate or loaded language to describe things?

Support

* Have adequate sources been provided to support the argument?
* Have the sources been properly cited to allow you to follow them?
* Does the site claim "secret" or "exclusive" access to a source?
* Is the source accurate when covering facts that you know to be true?

Evaluation

  • Look for bibliographies, citations, end/footnotes and other means of providing corroboration for the site's claims.
  • Be wary of sites that claim statistical figures without citation or explanatory text.
  • Does the site engage with known scholarship on the topic.

Robert Harris, Evaluating Internet Resources [http://www.virtualsalt.com/evalu8it.htm], Virtual Salt, 2010.

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