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University of Wollongong Australia

Finding Information: Websites

Evaluating Websites

How do you know if the information you find on the web is accurate and reliable?

When you find something relevant to your research on the web, ask yourself:

  • Who wrote it?
  • Why was it written?
  • Who was it written for?
  • When was it written?

Make this a regular search habit to ensure your work remains scholarly and does not contain content plagiarised by others.

Who wrote it?

The author/owner is generally found in the website's header.

Ask yourself:

  • Who wrote the content?
    Is there a link to the author's home page or curriculum vitae?
  • What are their qualifications?
  • Are they an expert in their field?

Why was it written? Who was it written for?

Is the purpose of the website stated anywhere? Is it scholarly or informational?

Ask yourself:

  • What topics are covered?
  • How in-depth is the material coverage?
  • Who is the target audience? Is the level appropriate for your purpose?
  • Is the information reliable? Is it controversial, misleading etc?
  • Is there any bias on the page e.g. racial, political etc?
  • Is there a commercial sponsor who is using the page to promote their product?
  • Which country/region does the information cover?

When was it written?

The date the page was created or updated is sometimes found in the footer. Out-of-date webpages may provide inaccurate information.


  • Are there dates on the site?
  • When was the website last revised?
  • Is the information current?
  • Are the links relevant and still active?

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