Critical Thinking & Information Literacy
Across the Curriculum
How to Evaluate a Web Site
What will you be
As part of your "Expert Group" project, you'll be looking
for articles and other sources of information relating to your group's topic.
Many of your sources will be from so-called "reliable" sources, such as the
NY Times, Business Week, the Seattle Times, etc.
At your library
orientation, you received handouts as to the "traditional" ways to evaluate Web
pages for reliability. For example, the NY Times Web site is a site that
meets most of the "traditional" evaluation criteria.
However, there are
other Web sites that do not meet the usual definitions of reliability. Of
course, there are plenty of sites that are neither reliable, nor useful. But,
how about all those "gray area" sites-the ones that contain useful information,
but do not conform to those traditional standards of evaluation?
This assignment is about figuring out how useful a site really is,
regardless of how "traditional" it is.
How will you be
You will be working in your Expert Groups (or sub-groups, if necessary).
Start by finding lots of Web sites for your subject area. Go to
sites that adhere to guidelines in the CTILAC handout, but also
branch out to find non-traditional sites.
Notice which sites have relevant, trustworthy information. How did you
figure that out?
Develop a set of criteria to judge the worth of the "gray area" sites. You
can start with the CTILAC handout, which has some predefined checks to
determine reliability. Then, add your own criteria to make one list.
You will finish by creating a list within your group that is your own Web
page evaluation guidelines. You can use some of the predefined guidelines, but
50 percent of the criteria on the final list must be your own.
What will you turn in as a
First your group will turn in its own findings:
Your group's set of "How To Evaluate Web Sites" criteria
An individual daily journal that documents your progress, successes and
failures during this process (does not have to be typed).
Keep track of the following information in a journal for all the sites
you visit: the complete URL, enough of a description of the contents so that
you'll have enough to remember what's there without having to go back, and
your brief or initial reactions to the site's value.
What's the next step?
will then redistribute the groups' guidelines so that each group gets one other
group's guidelines. In this second part, you will be assessing your peer's
Take the other group's evaluation guidelines.
Apply the guidelines to at least five different Web sites, both
traditional and non-traditional.
Take notes as to the strengths and weaknesses of the guidelines in
effectively evaluating the different types of Web sites.
As a group, prepare a one-page summary of your findings. (Note to
planner: this could also be a presentation.)
the final step . . .
We will have a large group discussion in
class to "compare notes" as to which evaluation criteria were the most effective
across the board and create one list that contains the best
criteria from the different smaller groups.
In the discussion you'll
"wear two hats":
You'll be a member of your original group, supporting the reasons why you
included the criteria that you did, and
You'll also be supporting and critiquing criteria from the other group
that you evaluated.
We'll assemble the different points from
the different groups to create one "super set" of ways to evaluate Web sites.