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Sustainability: Website Evaluation

This guide will provide resources and advice to help users research and write a paper on a topic connected to sustainability.

Online Resources

Everything's online, right?

Not really.  A lot of great information is there, however.  On this page and on the other pages under this tab, you will find links to useful information that is online and won't cost you anything.  These range from our databases to excellent government websites.  Please check out all of the pages in this section.

Why can't I just use Wikipedia?

Why can't I just use Wikipedia?  

Like other encyclopedias Wikipedia is usually a good source for looking up a quick fact or finding some general background information on a topic. Unlike other encyclopedias authors of Wikipedia articles have names like: Anonmoos, Mrvain68, and billobob.  Authors are sometimes very passionate about their subjects and may not be educated or objective.  One other issue is that Wikipedia articles can easily be changed by anyone quickly for a short period of time.     

 In many ways Wikipedia is a social network; check out these Wikipedia authors:  Vincecate;  ReelExterminator

Evaluation of web sites

1.    Authority


    Is the author or organization responsible for the page clearly identified?

      This is where Wikipedia falls short


    Are the author's credentials on the subject stated?

           Look For: About us, Contact us or Google the sponsoring organization

2.    Accuracy


   Can unique information be verified in other sources?

   Think especially of  Wikipedia information


Were established research standards used?

"Studies show...." is not acceptable without specific sources or studies cited.

Are references cited?

3.    Objectivity


 Are there advertisements on the site?  Do the advertisements have a direct relationship to the content of the site?

One example is drugs or vitamins for sale or advertised on a health related web site

Is the page or site promoting a particular viewpoint? An .org may use facts selectively to promote their viewpoint.

Check the purpose of organizations such as FAIR


Are value statements made in absolutes (best, worst, 100%, etc.)? 

Is information withheld and only views or facts supporting the organization or sponsor viewpoint presented?



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Mary Nagel
SFCC Library

Research Support Librarians
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