Being able to evaluate the quality of the information you are looking at on the web is an essential academic skill. Here is a simple acronym to refer to when evaluating websites you are reading: CABA

  • when was this website created?
  • to what time period do the facts/statistics cited apply?
  • when was the site last updated?

  • Who created this site?
  • Is the site linked to other organizations that sponsor it?
  • To what other organizations does the author belong?
  • What are his or her qualifications for speaking on this topic?
  • Is he or she an expert in this area? Has he or she received academic degrees in this area?
  • What university is his or her degree from? Is this a bonafide university?
  • Is he or she speaking from personal experience; if so, has this person looked beyond personal experience to try to understand the context/the bigger picture?
  • Is this person who he says he is?

  • Is this website trying to persuade you to a particular point of view. If so, why?
  • What is the purpose of this website? Why has the person made it? Is she just sharing information from her studies, or is she trying to sell, or promote, something to you.?
  • Does the author stand to gain from sales of this product?
  • Does the author have a known, or stated, bias on this topic?
  • What do other people who are knowledgeable in this area have to say about this author's viewpoint?
  • What other evidence of bias can you find: language used, etc. What is the tone of this website? For example, is it matter of fact, or is it angry?

  • Are the facts given accurate? You might need to check the facts using several other sources that you know to be reliable. For example, if a website provides statistics about cancer, linking cancer to the consumption of sugar, you could look for studies conducted by qualified medical researchers, working in the area of cancer research to see if the website you are looking at is accurately reporting study results. If a website portrays a type of bird you have never seen before, as existing in Nanaimo, going to a national bird species site, such as Environment Canada's list of birds in Canada site will help you determine whether it is likely to exist.
  • A good site will cite its sources, which you can look into. If it doesn't, there is no reason to believe the information on the site. (This by the way is true of any work you create, using "research"; if you don't cite your sources, and/or explain your reasoning, there is no reason for anyone to believe your "facts", or to be convinced by your argument or conclusions.)
  • Is the text of this site well-written? Errors in spelling and grammar indicate someone who is either not well-educated, or who does not pay attention to detail. If this is the case, chances are the research on the site is not carefully done, either.

(CABA info. above taken from L@H course material, created by D. Graham)

For Teachers

Some links to use with Website Evaluation Activities