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Since 1994, the Internet Scout Research Group (Scout) has focused on developing better tools and services for finding, filtering, and presenting online information and metadata.
Located on the University of Wisconsin-Madison's campus, and part of the University's College of Letters and Sciences, Scout has access to highly educated content specialists and a world-class array of computer science and library resources. Our eclectic staff blends academics and professionals from Library Science and Computer Science, along with graduate and undergraduate students studying the sciences, social sciences and humanities.
View this short video to learn basic tips for evaluating the Currency, Reliability, Authority, and Purpose of selected websites.
Anyone can publish on the internet. Resources found in the library have gone through an evaluation process before they get to you. If you choose to use the internet for research, you need to evaluate the information yourself by asking these questions:
Who published this material?
What are the author's qualifications?
Is this someone in your field of study with a Ph.D.?
What other research has this person done?
What is this person's reputation?
Can the author be contacted if you have questions?
What organization is sponsoring the website?
Do you trust the author providing the information?
Can you verify the accuracy of the information?
Are other reputable sites linked to it?
Is information cited properly?
Is the information written well? i.e., spelling, punctuation, grammar, etc.
When was this material published/put on the internet
Are there links within this website that are dead?
Is the site maintained and updated?
If information is dated, does that make it less valuable?
Is the information presented in a manner that makes it easy to use?
Does the website have images that add to the purpose of the site?
How thoroughly is the subject covered?
What is the purpose of this page?
Is it to inform, explain, persuade, or sell a product?
Is the information intended for a specific audience (high school students, scholars, etc.)?
Is the intended audience useful/appropriate for your research?
Is information presented objectively or does it have a bias?
If it has a bias (e.g., a specific political or philosophical point of view) does that detract from the usefulness to you?
(courtesy of McIntyre Library, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire)