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Economics: Websites

Tips to Evaluate Online Sources

1)  Authorship

  • Who wrote the page? Can you verify the author's credentials?
  • Is the author's contact information on the page? Does it actually work?
  • What organization established the page? In other words, who established the website that this page is hosted on?


  1. The author's name or a copyright (©) should appear near the top or bottom of the page.
  2. Look for some form of contact information for the author.
  3. Look at the domain (.edu,.org, .gov) to verify the hosting organization's credentials.


2)  Accuracy 

  • What is the purpose of the document? Why was it created?
  • Who is the target audience?
  • Is the author qualified to write on the topic?


  1. Look for an "About this site" type of link.
  2. Look for any information on the Author's credentials.
  3. Are there any links to sources? Citations? 
  4. Is the organization that hosts the website credible?

3)  Currency

  • When was the information updated?
  • When was it originally produced?
  • How current are the links to other sites/information?


  1. Is the information out of date?
  2. Is there a date of publication at the top or bottom of the page?
  3. Are any of the links dead or re-directed to unrelated information?

4)  Objectivity

  • Is the author being balanced and fair in the treatment of the topic or is he/she biased or overly emotional? 


  1. What, if any, opinions are expressed by the author?
  2. Try to identify any conflicts of interest.  Are any advertisements clearly separate in subject from the author's topic?
  3. What facts does the author present?  What facts are NOT presented?