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COMM 1040 - Public Speaking

Resources to assist you with speeches, debates, and oral presentations. Originally developed by Butler University Libraries under a Creative Commons Attribution License.

Evaluation of Web Documents

  Evaluation of Web documents How to interpret the basics

Accuracy of Web Documents

  • Who wrote the page and can you contact him or her?
  • What is the purpose of the document and why was it produced?
  • Is this person qualified to write this document?


  • Make sure author provides e-mail or a contact address/phone number.
  • Know the distinction between author and Webmaster.
  • Does the author cite reliable sources for his or her facts?

Authority of Web Documents

  • Who published the document and is it separate from the "Webmaster?"
  • Check the domain of the document; what institution publishes this document?
  • Does the publisher list his or her qualifications?


  • Are the authors of the document identified?
  • What credentials are listed for the author(s)?
  • Where is the document published? Check URL domain.

Objectivity of Web Documents

  • What goals/objectives does this page meet?
  • How detailed is the information?
  • What opinions (if any) are expressed by the author?


  • Determine if page is a mask for advertising; if so information might be biased.
  • View any Web page as you would an infomercial on television. Ask yourself why was this written and for whom?

Currency of Web Documents

  • When was it produced?
  • When was it updated?
  • How up-to-date are the links (if any)?


  • How many dead links are on the page?
  • Are the links current or updated regularly?
  • Is the information on the page outdated?

Coverage of the Web Documents

  • Are the links (if any) evaluated and do they complement the document's theme?
  • Is it all images or a balance of text and images?
  • Is the information presented cited correctly?


  • If page requires special software to view the information, how much are you missing if you don't have the software?
  • Is it free, or is there a fee, to obtain the information?
  • Is there an option for text only, or frames, or a suggested browser for better viewing?

Table created by Jim Kapoun, adapted by Clinton Berry. Used with permission.

Is Wikipedia a reliable source?

For the answer to this question, see the Evaluating Websites guide from the University of Texas Arlington Library. In addition to information about how to use Wikipedia, it also has more great information and examples about how to determine which websites are reliable.