Key issues in evaluating potentially questionable web material are discussed in the video below (created by Ohlone College in Fremont and Newark, California), and on our page on the CRAAP test criteria:
Use the following criteria to determine if a source is reliable and relevant to your research.
Summary & Purpose: What are the main ideas of the source? Is the main purpose of the source to contribute new knowledge about the topic or to try to persuade an audience to believe or to do something about the topic?
Methods Used to Collect Data & Reliability of Data: Is it clear from the source what methods were used to gather the evidence used in the source? Does the source convince you that its evidence is reliable? Why or why not?
Usefulness & Relevancy: Why is this source helpful to your research? How will you use it in your paper? Are there any limitations to its usefulness for your paper? Can you overcome these limitations? How?
Authority: Is the source written by someone who has the expertise to write on the topic? List the credentials of the author(s).
Currency: Is the source new? Is it up-to-date for your topic?
Evaluating Web Sites
You can also use the following guides to help you determine if the web site you found is reliable and appropriate for academic research.