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    Designed by Tera McFarland


    Evaluating Internet Sources
    A Webquest




    Internet sources must be evaluated to assure their authenticity and relevance because Web sites and pages do not go through the intensive editing processes that traditional print and visual resources do.

    Therefore, YOU, the user, must learn to assess the validity of the sources you use in your research.

    Don’t be fooled into believing that just because it’s on the Internet, it’s true. In essence, don’t believe everything that you read!


    ? ? ? ?

    Your task is to work together and agree on which of the Internet sources in your assigned sets (One, Two, Three or Four) are the best and which are the worst. Your decision will reflect the consensus of your group's looking at these Internet sources with certain evaluation criteria in mind.

    1. Your instructor will divide you into groups. Each of you in the group will be assigned one of the following roles:

    The Authority Expert (Check out the author or organization.)

    The Content Accuracy and Coverage Specialist(Is the information correct, thorough, and appropriate?)



    The Bias Buster (Be on the lookout for objectivity and prejudice.)

    The Currency Crasher (Is timeliness an issue? Is the site up to date?)

    The Usability Pro (How user friendly is the source?)


    Familarize yourself with the criteria and your roles here.

    (The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly)

    Use your back button when perusing the above link.



    Another evaluation resource

    (Trash or Treasure?)


    2. Each of you should look at the following items quietly from your single perspective.

    Example Sets One, Two, Three, and Four will be assigned to different groups. Write down what you like and don't like about each one from that perspective. Make notes that are sufficiently detailed so that you can explain your position when you get together with the others in your group. Include at least five specific aspects of constructive criticism for each example. Write the name of each site as well as your observations. Include a final consensus statement. Include the names of each person in your group.

    Your instructor will keep track so that everyone will finish at the same time.

    Group Examples

    3. Now work with your group. Share your opinions about each. Your task is to arrive at consensus that takes each perspective into account. Be prepared to present your findings to the class in an informal class discussion.


    You will receive a group grade for this exercise. Make sure that you collaborate and include everyone in your discussion and evaluation.












    Ability to Evaluate from a Single Perspective


    Items are evaluated vaguely without strong ties to the given perspectiveThe given perspective is used to make simple distinctionsMultiple distinctions are drawn from the perspective and applied to the items Complex, nuanced distinctions are derived from the perspectives and applied


    Ability to Achieve Consensus Across Perspectives


    Group unable to agreeGroup arrived at final ranking mechanically without discussion Group able to agree on most items and resorted to voting on one or two.Group consensus achieved through reasoned discussion



    The task is incomplete and/or it is apparent that little effort went into the development of the task.At least two areas of the task were not addressed. The plan followed by the team demonstrated a moderate level of thought.At least one area of the task was not addressed. The plan followed by the team demonstrated a great deal of thought.All areas of the task were addressed and handled with a high degree of sophistication. The plan followed by the team demonstrated a great deal of thought.


    Process: Teamwork

    The final product is not the result of a collaborative effort. The group showed no evidence of collaboration.The team had problems working together. Little collaboration occurred.The team worked well together, but could have utilized each other's skills to a better degree.It is evident that a mutual effort and cohesive unit created the final product.



    All questions were not answered completely.Not all questions were answered completely, or greater than 2 rationales for the answers were not clearly stated.All questions were answered completely, but rationales for all of the answers were not clearly stated.All questions were answered completely and rationales for the answers were clearly stated.






    Now the next time you need to do research for a class or for your own interest, you will be able to distinguish a credible web site from a poorly constructed or unacceptable one. For more information on Internet resources please visit the following links.

    Comparing and Evaluating Web Information Sources http://www.fno.org/jun97/eval.html

    Four Nets For Better Searching http://webquest.sdsu.edu/searching/fournets.htm

    Online Research for High School and College Students http://www.onlineschools.org/resources/online-research-for-students/

    More Sites to Use for Demonstrating Critical Evaluation


    Credits & References

    A special thank you to Susan Beck for granting her permission for the use of

    her website, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

    Another special thanks to Jon Landis, Wendy Jones, Timothy Joyce, Beth Miller, and Sarah Di lorio for all of their help.


    Please visit The WebQuest Page and the Design Patterns page to acquire the latest version of this template and training materials.


    We all benefit by being generous with our work. Permission is hereby granted for other educators to copy this WebQuest, update or otherwise modify it, and post it elsewhere provided that the original author's name is retained along with a link back to the original URL of this WebQuest. On the line after the original author's name, you may add Modified by (your name) on (date). If you do modify it, please let me know and provide the new URL.

    Last updated 06/18/2008. Based on a template from The WebQuest Page