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Evaluating Web Pages

Types of Websites

Web Domains

Another key element to evaluating web pages is to consider the web domain. Web domains are located at the end of the URL. These indicate the type of website and can give important clues as to the type of content and credibility the site offers. Below are the most common web domains and how you can use them to evaluate the resource. 

.com
  • Websites ending in .com signal any commercial or for-profit website.
  • .com sites can have reliable information, but USE CAUTION and evaluate carefully.
.org
  • Websites ending in .org are organizational sites usually indicating a non-profit or noncommercial site. 
  • .org sites often contain very important information, but some can be biased in support if certain agendas. Review CAREFULLY and check for objectivity. 
.edu
  • Websites ending in .edu are educational sites for colleges and universities. 
  • Official .edu sites are reliable. Be wary of any student/professor webpages, as these could contain inaccurate information.
.gov
  • Websites ending in .gov are any U.S. State, Federal, or Local government sites. 
  • .gov sites are acceptable resources for research.

Quick Tip

When searching Google, you can construct your search to filter by certain web domains. Simply construct your search as follows:

Site: [domain] [search term]

Google Search Site: .org Travel

 

Web Page Types and Examples

Advocacy websites are sites sponsored by an organization attempting to influence public opinion (i.e. sell ideas). Typically the URL for these sites will be .org. Not all advocacy websites are extremely biased, but be sure to thoroughly review the content before using.

While evaluating the website, make sure to ask yourself:

  • How current is the information?
  • Is the content making extraordinary claims?
  • Has the information been reviewed?
  • How objective and impartial is the information?
  • Who is the author/publisher/source?

Examples:

Business and marketing websites are those sponsored by a commercial enterprise and are usually trying to sell or promote a product. The URL for these pages frequently ends in .com.

When evaluating these websites, be sure to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are there dates on the pages to indicate when they we're published, or last visited?
  • Is there adequate information describing the nature of the company, it's owner, and the products sold?
  • Are there links to credible outside sources to verify company claims?
  • Is the motivation for the company and its content clear?
  • Are there advertisements on the pages?

Examples:

News websites are sites whose primary purpose is to provide current information to inform the public. The URL for news sites usually ends in .com. When using content from a news source, be sure to note if the information is an opinion or editorial piece, and be wary of Fake News. 

While evaluating the website, make sure to ask yourself:

  • When was the information published? 
  • Are sources for factual information clearly listed so they can be verified through another source?
  • Who is the author of the article and what are her/his credentials?
  • Is the website and author objective and unbiased? 

Examples:

 

Other types of websites you may wish to use could be informational websites, meaning those whose purpose is to provide specific, factual information to educate the public. The URL for these types of websites could end in any domain.   

While evaluating the website, make sure to ask yourself:

  • Are there dates related to the information, when it was gathered and when it was published?
  • Is the material under copyright? 
  • Is there supporting material and links to back the information?
  • Is there information describing the purpose of the sponsoring organization?

Examples: