Most (if not all) faculty do not want their students to use Wikipedia. It is still not accepted as the scholarly source. Here's Colbert's funny take on this popular but not reliable source!
Put on your critical thinking cap when you browse through the websites. Most of us usually look at the top few results when we do a Google search! Rememeber, better sites may be on successive pages. You should be creafully reviewing wensites; make sure the website is a credible one and relevant to your information needs. Generally .edu and .gov pages are reliable but you need to carefully evaluate .com and o.org pages. Many libraries and librarians use their own evaluation criteria but most are similar in their essence. I have been using the SCRAP test (acronym) for many years now and have listed that below.
Website Evaluation Criteria
Try the SCRAP Test
· What is the depth of the site? Too elementary, too advanced?
· Does it provide comprehensive coverage or mere compilation of links?
· Is it relevant to your information needs?
· Is there a date when the site was created or last updated?
· Are the hyperlinks current?
· In the absence of a copyright or revision date, can you determine if the information is current?
· Are the sources documented? Can you verify them?
· Are the research methods revealed or is the content primarily opinion based? Is it balanced information?
· Is the content coming from scholarly/peer-reviewed sources?
· Does it have an unbiased tone?
· Who is the author/publisher/sponsor?
· What are their credentials/qualifications?
· What are their organizational affiliations?
· Is there contact information?
P- Purpose/Point of View
· Why is the information being posted? Who is the target audience? Determine if the site is trying to inform, teach, entertain, advertise, persuade or sell.
· Is there any bias or do the points of view appear to be objective?
· Who is sponsoring the website?
o Consider domains (.com, .edu, .org, .gov, .biz, .net etc.)
o A tilde (~) in the Web address often indicates a personal Web page.