Evaluating a Web Site for Credibility
How can you tell if the information you find on a Web site is factual? Here
are some strategies that will help you judge accordingly.
Consider the Source.design
Check the ending of the URL to find out about the site’s publisher or
sponsor and judge accordingly.design
• .com indicates a commercial or business publication.While you’re used to
looking at the graphic aspects of a Web site, we suggest reviewing its
message and reader focus so you get a sense of its present marketing
strategies. Look for what is emphasized, and think about what is left out.
Visit the Web sites of competing businesses, too.design
• .edu means that the site is sponsored by an educational institution. Use
these sites to find out about industry history, current research, and terminology.
(A note of caution: It isn’t difficult for students and college staff
to create Web sites through a university sponsor, although the host university
may not have vetted these sites for accuracy. You can recognize an
individual or personal Web site by the tilde sign ~ in the URL.)
• .gov shows a government-sponsored site. These are useful sites for statistics,
listings by region, and industry information.design
• .org indicates that the site is published by an organization or association.
Use these sites to enrich your industry-specific language, terms, and concepts,
as well as to familiarize yourself with the issues and concerns of
Look for a Date
Beware of Web sites that omit dates. If a Web site does not include the
date it was created or revised, you will not be able to determine whether
the information is current. (Some Web sites leave out the date for this
very reason—to obscure the fact that they don’t update their sites.) Since
you are using your research to inform yourself and enrich your proposals,
presentations, and briefs, be sure that the information you cite is reliable
Review the Contact Information
The inclusion of contact information means someone has been given the
responsibility for maintaining the Web site and shows a good-faith effort.
Check to see if there is a name and e-mail address for feedback and questions.
A title and department are even better. True, the contact information
might be defunct, but the only way to know that is to try to make contact
and see if you get a response.design