Evaluating Internet Sources
Who published the document and what are the credentials of the author(s)? Is there a reputable institutional affiliation? Is the information presented consistent with other reliable information published on the same topic?
Is the information accurate? To distinguish between fact and opinion ask if the information can be proved, demonstrated, or verified by witnesses or documents.
Opinions should not necessarily be discounted if based on sound logic and experience, but it is important to note where fact ends and opinion begins. Consider e-mailing the writer for clarification of sources. Quality web sites will provide the name and e-mail address of a contact person.
What goals or objectives does the page meet? Is the author trying to sell something? Try to determine if the page is a mask for advertising. If so, the information is biased.
When was the material produced? If a web page is not a recent publication, there may be “dead” links leading nowhere. Quality web sites will be updated regularly, with links that work.
Information should be available without fees, and without unusual browser or software requirements.
Evaluate whether the apparent audience, based on the page’s content, tone, and style, is appropriate for your needs.
Click on the link below to download/print a handout on evaluating Internet sources.
Just Facts is a non-profit institute dedicated to publishing comprehensive, straightforward, and rigorously documented facts about public policy issues. To accomplish this, we use objective Standards of Credibility to determine what constitutes a fact and what does not. The vision of Just Facts is to equip people with facts that empower them to make truly informed decisions about important matters. This requires proven facts that accurately and fully convey reality—not pseudo-facts, half-truths, or talking points.
All Slides strengthens our democratic society with balanced news, diverse perspectives, and real conversation. We expose people to information and ideas from all sides of the political spectrum so they can better understand the world — and each other.
We are a nonpartisan, nonprofit “consumer advocate” for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics. We monitor the factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players in the form of TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews and news releases. Our goal is to apply the best practices of both journalism and scholarship, and to increase public knowledge and understanding.
PolitiFact seeks to present the true facts, unaffected by agenda or biases. Our journalists set their own opinions aside as they work to uphold principles of independence and fairness. As part of that effort, PolitiFact journalists avoid the public expression of political opinion and public involvement in the political process.
When misinformation obscures the truth and readers don’t know what to trust, Snopes’ fact-checking and original, investigative reporting lights the way to evidence-based and contextualized analysis. We always link to and document our sources so readers are empowered to do independent research and make up their own minds.
“To promote civility, critical thinking, education, and informed citizenship by presenting the pro and con arguments to debatable issues in a straightforward, nonpartisan, freely accessible way.”