Evaluate websites

While you always need to question the information and consider its historical context, there are some specific questions to ask when you're evaluating websites.

Because anyone can post information on the web, every search will give you a range of reliable and unreliable results. To decide whether a website is reliable, ask yourself:

  • Who made the site? You should be able to contact them through an ‘About us' or ‘Contact' section.
  • What does the domain name tell you? Has the site been made by a reputable organisation?
  • There are a range of non-profit, government and media sites that provide reliable and free information on various topics. They often have common elements in their domain names.

    As a general rule, in Australia look for:

    • gov.au = government site
    • edu.au = education site
    • org.au = public organisation, usually non-profit.
  • What's the purpose of the site? Is it designed purely to give information, or is it trying to sell you something?
  • Is the site well designed and easy to use? Do all the links work? When was it last updated? Reliable sites are usually fully functional and regularly updated.
With any resource, remember to ask who created it, when they created it, and why they created it.