Thinking Critically about Web Sites
Cynthia W. Sparks
Chesapeake Public Schools
Access to Everyone
Not all sites are good sources of information
In past, expensive to publish
Materials usually juried by authorities
Today, anyone can publish to web
Easy to broadcast inaccurate or biased material
Users must be critical consumers of information
What to consider?
Who Put up the Site?
Name of the individual or group clearly stated.
source for information in the site.
Web site author provides a way for users to make comments or ask questions.
Web site author is responsive to any questions regarding copyright, trademark, or ownership of all material on the site.
Purpose: Every Site Has a Reason for Being There
Site’s purpose is clear and its content reflects its purpose
Advertising is appropriate to the intended audience and does not overshadow the content.
Site enriches the user’s experience and expands the imagination.
Design and Stability:
Personality and Strength of Character.
Information on the site is be easy to find and to use.
Site design is appealing to its intended audience.
Text is easy to read, not cluttered with
graphics, fonts, and backgrounds.
Users are able to get around the site easily.
Pages consisting mainly of links are well-organized and appealing
Page loads in a reasonable amount of time.
Content: Meaningful and Useful
Title relates to its purpose.
Content should be easy to read and understand by its intended audience.
If large amounts of information on the site, some kind of search function should be provided.
Spelling and grammar is correct.
Information current and accurate, and if the topic of the site is one that changes, it should be updated regularly with a “last updated” notation.
Links to more information should be provided.
Graphics are relevant and appropriate to the content.
Subject matter is relevant to and appropriate for the intended audience.
Viewpoint presented is comprehensible to the intended audience.
Skills required to use the site’s features and structure are appropriate or appropriately challenging for intended audience.
Quality of content is most important.
Content should be developmentally appropriate to the intended audience.
What questions to ask?
Who is the author?
Does the creator have knowledge of the field?
When was the site created?
Is the information updated periodically?
Are links to other sites kept current?
What to Consider?
Is the content accurate and current?
Is the content relevant?
Is the coverage comprehensive?
Is the site obviously biased?
Is the site easy to navigate?
Does the design enhance the site?
Sites of Interest
Search Tools for Kids
Sites of Interest
Field Guide to Field Trips Online
Places for more info
Evaluation criteria for Information Sources
Thinking critically about WWW Resources
Thinking critically about Discipline-Based WWW Resources
Lesson Plans on Evaluation
Discovery School—Kathy Schrock
Basic information on the Internet
Online tutorials of basic information for the novice
Search then Evaluate
Becoming a Power Searcher
Internet Search Strategies
Internet Tools and Resources
Lesson plans, portals, web quests, search tools, search strategies, puzzle and quiz builder, evaluation
TrackStar, Rubric Star, Worksheet Maker
Evaluating Web sites:
A WebQuest about Evaluating Web Sites
This quest asks you to compare specific sites in groups of 4
Each member of the group will have a specific job to accomplish
Finally the group will evaluate and discriminate between the various web sites visited.
Software Tools: Practice
A WebQuest for Software Tools
This quest makes you practice your search skills.
You can do this alone or in pairs.
Which is real?
Go to the following sites
Think about the elements for evaluating
What are the clues to the authentic site?
Home to Internet