When you're looking for information on the internet, it's important to make sure you can trust the website. Remember to ask the 5 "W" Questions:
- Who is the author? Make sure the author of the information is an expert or has listed good sources for their information. A website that doesn't list an author is a bad sign. (Tip: An author doesn't have to be one person. It can be a group of people working together. For example, a website created by a college might list the college as the author. That is fine).
- When was the website created? A trustworthy website should be up to date. Tip: Check the bottom of the webpage to look for the date it was created or updated.
- What does the website look like? Is it neat and organized? Or is it messy and confusing?
- Where is the website hosted? Look at the end of the web address. .edu usually means it is hosted by a college. .gov means it is hosted by the government. These both are usually very trustworthy websites. .com means it is a business. Be careful it is not just trying to sell you something. .org means it is hosted by a non-profit organization. Ask yourself if the information they are giving you is biased (only telling one side of an issue).
- Why is the website useful? Maybe it is a trustworthy website, but is the best one for your needs? Look at more than one website, and choose the best websites for your needs.
For another way of evaluating websites, check out this infographic:
Practice Websites (Visit these websites and decide whether they are trustworthy or not!)