[APA Citation Style]
02 Jul 2007 - Source Evaluations - Websites
Much of this course will be spent exploring a variety of types of
information sources, print, electronic, and human. These sources will form
the basis of a portfolio to be assembled.
You must write three evaluations for information sources that you consult
during your research. These sources may or may not ultimately yield
information that is useful to you in your research, and you may or may not
cite these sources in your final project.
Here is an example of a website evaluation.
Task 3 - Website Evaluation
Three source evaluations will be due during the semester
- one on a website
- This must be an evaluation of an entire website, not just one or a
set of pages on a site. This must be a site on the free web - that is,
not something that requires a login (though sites that require
registration are ok if it's a free registration)
I encourage you to discuss search strategies in class and on the list as you
explore various sources.
Discuss the process
To facilitate the identification of appropriate sources, you must
participate in the discussion on information sources on the class list.
- You are required to post your three source evaluations to
our class list as email
attachments. Enter the topic you are researching in the subject line of the
email you send to the class list with your attached evaluation. This will
permit members of the list to easily see topics they are interested in
- In addition, you are required to comment on at least one posting from a
classmate per source evaluation assignment (that means three in all).
- For example, student A may post an evaluation of the indexes published by
the Public Affairs Information Service.
- Since this source is also pertinent to student B's research question,
student B takes a look at this source, and posts additional evaluative
comments about the source.
- You may, of course, post additional comments about sources or methods for
searching them, and may respond to as many postings as you wish.
The website evaluation should be 1-3 pages (double-spaced) and include the
following 7 parts:
- A complete citation for the website
- This citation must be in American Psychological Association (APA) format.
APA is the citation format most commonly used in the social sciences. If you
are not familiar with this format, you should locate a style guide. The
following links may be helpful with this format
- Strategy for finding the website
- How did you find the website?
- What database, book, bibliography, etc. did you find this source in?
- What was your rationale for selecting that website? In other words, why did
you think that website would be useful for your
- Rationale for selection of the website
- Why did you think that the website would be useful for your research, before
you reviewed it?
- (Whether or not the website in fact turned out to be useful; you'll discuss
- General evaluation of the website:
- The authority, scope, intended audience, and currency or timeliness of the
- Select the evaluation criteria that are most appropriate for evaluating this
- List each and write a short explanation of how well the website fulfills the
- You will find these resources helpful in writing this section of
the portfolio entry
- For All Entries
- Quaratiello, A. R. (2000). The College Student's
Research Companion. New York: Neal-Schuman. Evaluating What
You've Found, 134-138. Covers authority, content, accuracy,
- For Websites
- Other criteria you might choose to use
- audience, primary vs. secondary, scholarly vs. popular, logical consistency, search features, functionality
- Example strategies used to search within the website
- How did you find information within the website?
- What terms did you use to search the website?
- How did you combine these terms?
- What other strategies did you use to find information within the
- What were the results of your searches within the website?
- Keep in mind that many searches are conducted in multiple sessions, so your
search strategy should evolve as you work with a website over time. For each
website, your evaluation must include what you consider to be an exemplary
search strategy for that website and a brief discussion of the strengths and
weaknesses of the strategy. This discussion will conclude with a brief
summary of your evaluation of the information actually yielded by the
- A brief summary of the information yielded by the website
- This follows up your rationale for selecting the website: your
rationale for selection is why you thought that the website would be
useful before you reviewed it; this section should explain how your
opinion of the website changed once you actually reviewed it. This
section should answer the following questions
- What information does the website as a whole contain?
- What information does the website contain that is relevant to your research
- How does the website help you (or not) to answer your research question?
- A revised draft of your research question, if one is needed
After reviewing each website, your research question may change radically or
slightly. Include your revised research question and a brief description of
the reason(s) for the revision. As the semester progresses your question
will come to be better formed, so it is likely that it will change less as
you review more websites. If your research question does not change after
reviewing a website, write that up as well and give an explanation of why the
website did not cause you to revise your question.
Points: 10% of course grade per source evaluation = 30 % for all three
The website evaluation should include:
- an evaluation of an appropriate website (e.g., an entire website
rather than a single webpage)
- a discussion of your strategy for finding the source
- a discussion of your rationale for selecting the source
- a discussion of example strategies that you used to search within the source
- a brief summary of the information yielded by the source
- an evaluation of the source according to the evaluation
criteria discussed in class, and any other criteria that are appropriate
- appropriate spelling, grammar, & writing style
- The standards which will be used for grading this task are listed on the
Use this template to ensure that your website evaluation is formatted
according to standard.
- But we also have one administrative standard which will be constant
throughout the course.
- use a common file name structure for all documents you turn in as an
email attachment or as a file I can download from your web space
- the structure takes advantage of how operating systems want to index
- an example might be