Here are some general guidelines that will help you to evaluate web site content for quality, bias, and reliability. You will need to decide if it's relevant and appropriate for your research.
- What form does the content you've found take--a scholarly article, an article in a newspaper or other popular publication, commercial Web site, blog posting, etc.? is it a form that is appropriate for supporting an argument in a college-level research paper?
- What person or institution takes responsibility for the content? is it easy to determine who is responsible?
- What is the authority of the responsible person or institution in relation to the content? Do credentials or organizational mission support the author's credibility (that is, do you trust the author)?
- What bias can you determine in the content? Do you believe that the content is accurate? Would you describe the author's approach as objective?
- is the site that you've found the content on up to date? When was it last updated?
Your evaluation of the material you find on the Web will provide you with an understanding of the diverse approaches to any subject--from personal blog postings to in-depth scholarly research articles to multimedia cultural exhibitions. When you assess the content you find on the Web, you can then decide how to incorporate particular types of content into your research paper.