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University of Portland Clark Library

ENG 101: English as a Second Language for International Students (Blumenthal): Evaluating Websites

Questions to Consider When Evaluating Sources

Consider the 5 "Ws" when evaluating websites:

  • Who
  • What
  • When
  • Where
  • Why

Your Overall Impression

What is your thinking about this source?

Is this useful to you?

Is it a high-quality source you would use in a paper or presentation?

Who

Who wrote this source? 

  • What can you find about about the author of this source?
  • Do they have a degree or expertise related to this topic?

What

What is the content of the source?

  • Is the content relevant or useful to you?
  • Is the content credible? Does it support what you found in other sources?
  • What does the content look like?
    • Does it have advertisements?
    • Does it look like a professional source?
  • Does it include a bibliography or citations to help you track down where the author found their information?

When

When was the source published?

  • Is there a date the source was:
    • created?
    • last updated?
    • copyright date?

Where

Where was the source published? 

  • What type of source is it? Is it a:
    • Newspaper/magazine article?
    • Scholarly journal article?
    • Personal blog?
    • Government document?
    • Non-profit organization?
  • What is the quality of that type of source? 
  • Is the source edited or reviewed before being published online?

Why

Why was the source published?

  • What is its purpose?
    • To inform?
    • To sell something?
    • To persuade the reader of a point of view? 
  • Does the source have a bias or argue for a particular point-of-view?

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