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Evaluating Internet Resources

 So much historical information (along with information in general) is available on the internet that teaching with primary sources and finding answers to questions has never been easier. But how do you know what you find is accurate? A website must analyzed to understand its authorship, point of view, and other issues before you can finally conclude if it is useful or not. 

You can treat a website like a primary source and use a Primary Source Analysis worksheet to evaluate it. Indeed, one reason why teaching with primary sources is so good for students is because it teaches them to look critically at sources and not just accept them at face value.
There are other resources that work the same way as analyzing a primary source, but are more specific to internet resources. Here are a few:
Five Criteria for Evaluating Websites is an excellent guide for teachers and high school students.

Practical Steps in Evaluating Internet Resources is another useful guide, developed by librarians at Johns Hopkins University.

Stopping to look a source over may slow down your gathering of information, but you will find better information this way. Also, as you get used to looking critically at websites, you will get better at telling the good from the bad.

And of course you should have a few tried and true places for web resources that you go to regularly. A good selection of these is presented on the Historical Resources Page.


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Following the links: