When evaluating websites it’s important to put on your Sherlock Holmes cap and think about the website in relation to the type of information you need.  For example, a website where you can buy a Sherlock Holmes costume probably won’t help you if you’re researching the development of the mystery novel.   The following questions and clues can help determine whether or not to trust a website:

Where is the website coming from or who is the author?

Look for clues like…

  • an “About” or “More about the Author” link
  • the domain name (.edu, .com, .mil, .gov, .org)

 Does the website present a certain bias or specific opinion?

Look for clues like…

  • links or references to other websites or sources that might be associated withspecific biases.
  • the language being used

 Can you tell when it was published?

Look for clues like…

  • phrases that include the words “updated” or “published”
  • specific dates

 Who is the target audience for the website?

Look for clues like…

  • references to specific organizations or groups of people
  • advertisements that might be targeting specific groups

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