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Communication: Evaluate Webpages

Evaluating Webpages

You may end up using websites during the course of your research. But how can you tell if it is a good source?

On this page, you will find:

  • A presentation about evaluating information on websites (left column)
  • A graphic explaining the meaning of common webpage domain extensions (right column)

Information about almost any subject is easy to find; however, not all information is good information. An essential part of academic research and writing is learning how to critically analyze and evaluate your sources to eliminate old, incorrect, or irrelevent information. The CRAAP Test provides a good guide for analyzing your research sources. Here is a link to an accessible PDF of this information.

By scoring each category on a scale from 1 to 10 (1=worst, 10=best possible), you can give each site a grade on a 50 point scale.

        45-50 Excellent | 40-44 Good | 35-39 Average | 30-34 Borderline | Below 30-Unacceptable

This information has been adapted from "Evaluating Information-Applying the CRAAP Test" by the staff at Meriam Library, California State University-Chico. The source material can be accessed here.
"Evaluating Information-Applying the CRAAP Test." 26 Sept. 2009. Meriam Lib., California State University-Chico. CSU-Chico ReSEARCH Station. Web. 11 Jan. 2010.

Popular Webpage Domain Extensions:

  • .com originally identified for-profit company websites
  • These pages can be sponsored by individuals or non-profit organizations
  • .com sites are often sources of reliable information, but not necessarily. Evaluate .com websites carefully

  • Most official .edu pages would be considered reliable sources 
  • A tilde (~) in the URL usually indicates a student or faculty member's personal webpage.  Personal sites can vary in quality.

  • Includes U.S. state, federal, and military information
  • Domain names reflect the organization names in the Federal Government & non- Federal government entities in the United States; Used to promote government services. Usually treated as acceptable sources for academic papers

  • Are not necessarily a non-profit organization
  • Often contain excellent information, but many are created in support of a specific position or agenda. Analyze their contents carefully.