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Climate Change: Evaluating Websites

Importance of Evaluating Websites

Putting information on the Internet is fast, cheap, and can be done by anyone with an Internet connection.

If you are using a website as a source in your project, you need to think critically about where that information is coming from.  You don't want to base your paper off a biased opinion or cite a website that's simply a mask for advertising.

Instead, you want to find credible, up-to-date, relevant information that's written by an expert or an authority on the topic, whose claims are based in fact and supported by evidence.

To learn how to separate the good information from the not-so-good or downright bad information that you might come across online, start with the S.T.A.R. Test.  Download the linked document for specific criteria for each principle.

S.T.A.R. Test

Test for Website credibility

S. - Source

T. - Timeliness

A. - Accuracy

R. - Relevance

Instructions for Exercises

As you compare the pairs of sites below, use the S.T.A.R. Test worksheet and consider these questions:

  • What kind of site are you looking at?  Informational? Sales? Personal? Advocating for a cause?
  • Who is responsible for the information?  Look for an ABOUT page.
  • Which one is more appropriate for assignments?
  • Which is more credible?
  • What factors helped you decide?

Exercise #1

Compare the following sites.  Use the questions in the Instructions box to guide your analysis.

Exercise #2

Compare the following sites.  Use the questions in the Instructions box to guide your analysis.