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Philosophy: Websites

How do I determine if a website is reliable?


Adappted from the Meriam Library, California State University, Chico

Currency: Timeliness of the information

When was the information published or posted?  Has the information been revised or updated?  Does your topic require current information, or will older sources work as well?

Relevance: The importance of the information for your needs.

Who is the intended audience?  Is the information at an appropriate level (i.e. not too elementary or advanced for your needs?) Would you be comfortable citing this source in your research paper?

Authority: The source of the information

Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?  What are the author’s credentials or organization affiliations?  Is the author qualified to write on the topic?  Does the url say anything about the source?

Accuracy: The reliability, truthfulness and correctness of the content.

Where does the information come from?  Is the information supported by evidence?  Does the language or tone seem unbiased and free of emotion?

Purpose: The reason the information exists.

What is the purpose of the information?  Is it to inform, teach, sell, entertain, or persuade?  Do the authors make their intentions or purpose clear?  Is the information fact, opinion, or propaganda?  Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional, or personal biases?

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