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Research Guides

Eastern Washington University Libraries

Economics 370: International Economics

Evaluating Websites


While evaluating the information you find in books and periodicals is important, evaluating web-based materials is absolutely crucial. Unlike books and journal and magazine articles, there is no editing process online, many websites that appear legitimate lack depth, authority, and accuracy. The following five evaluating criteria should be met before you include content from a website in your assignmentYou must apply each criteria to a website to determine its worth. When deciding whether you should include a website as a resource for your paper, you must not only determine if a website is trustworthy and legitimate, but also if it is relevant to your topic and supports your thesis. 

  • Purpose - the reason or reasons the source was written
  • Authority - the qualifications of the writer or creator
  • Currency - the time when the source was written
  • Accuracy - the absence of errors and use of reliable information
  • Content - the information provided by the source

(These criteria based on checklist in the book The College Student's Research Companion by Arlene Quaratiello and Jane Devine) 

Identifying Fake News

What makes a news story fake?

  • You can't verify its claims: A fake news article may or may not have links in it tracing its sources; if it does, these links may not lead to articles outside of the site's domain or may not contain information pertinent to the article topic.
  • Fake news appeals to emotion: Fake news plays on your feelings - it makes you angry or happy or scared. This is to ensure you won't do anything as pesky as fact-checking.
  • Authors usually aren't experts: Most authors aren't even journalists, but paid trolls.
  • It can't be found anywhere else: If you look up the main idea of a fake news article, you might not find any other news outlet (real or not) reporting on the issue.
  • Fake news comes from fake sites: Did you article come from OR These and a host of other URLs are fake news sites.

(Source: Indiana University East Library: