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Education Debates  

Last Updated: Oct 25, 2012 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates
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Education Key Words / Hot Topics

Assessment / Grading  
Common Core No Child Left Behind (NCLB)
Differentiated Instruction Race to the Top
For Profit Schools School Choice
Funding Charter Schools
Inequality in Education School Vouchers
Improving Teacher Quality Standardized Testing
Inclusion / Mainstreaming Teacher Evaluation

    How do you know a website is reliable?

    Evaluating a Website

    How can you tell that a web site you would like to use for your research is reliable? Because of the open nature of web publishing (most anyone can post information to a web site and make it look professional) it is especially important that you understand how to evaluate a website for credibility before citing it in your research. Answering the following questions about a website provides one with the necessary information to make a determination about the accuracy and validity of the information retrieved.

    The Four W's of Website Evaluation

    Who created this website?
    Person? An Organization?
    What does the URL (Web address) say about the creator of the web site?
    .gov (Government Agency), .edu (College or university) .mil  (U.S. military)
    .org, .net, .com (no restrictions, these domains can be purchased by anyone) 
    (A "tilde" in a URL means this is a personal website)
    Look for links to the author/sponsor
    "About Me", "Home", "Background", "Bio"
    If you can't find the home page, try deleting part of the URL.
    Conduct a link search to see if other reputable sources link to the website.
    Use the link operator by typing link:URL
    Why was this website created?
    Inform? (fact or opinion?)
    Persuade? (other viewpoints?)
    Sell a product or service?
    What information does the website provide?
    Does the information appear to be accurate?
    Are there sources or support for the information?
    Is the information free of bias?
    Is the website well-organized and easy to read?

    When was the information published?
    Is the information up-to-date?
    Does the information on your topic need to be current?

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