When use the Internet for research
Consider in Context
Who - Responsibility
What - contents
When - Check currency
Why - purpose of site
How - Look, mechanics
(This may be the least important in terms of scholarship but extremely important in terms of usability and reliability)
Evaluation of web sites
A | Authority:
Who is responsible for the site and its contents? Is it verifiable? Does someone claim to be a physician, scholar, etc. Can you look them up to make sure they are? Is there a physical address for the site? Is there an email or phone number?
U | Updates
Is the site current or outdated? Look at a variety of pages, not just the first page. If every page is 'today's date' be wary that it isn't an automatic update from a computer.
P | Purpose
Who is the target audience and what are the objectives of the creator of the site? Are they trying to sell something? Are they trying to convince you of something? Is the site for specialists, beginners, scholars, personal friends or others?
A | Access/Design
Is the site technically reliable (links work) and is it aesthetically pleasing? Not only do links work but do they have an easy way to go from a lower level page to the main home page? Do the links work and are they updated as necessary? Is the site easy to print or email from? Do they use a white font on a black background which is hard to print?
C | Content
Look at the quality, bias, and scholarship of the site. Is the information verifiable elsewhere? What is the bias of the site? Every site has some bias (the library tries to get you to use quality information so the library is biased toward scholarly sites that include topics taught in AUP courses). What is the bias of the site you are inspecting? Be aware if it influences you and how. Are there scholarly works on the site? Do they give citations of reliable sources within articles and pages?