This page explains how to apply the RADAR criteria for evaluating sources to websites.

Be prepared to explore your website to find the information needed to evaluate it.

Reason

  • The purpose of the site should be clear. Can you discover its mission statement? Look for About Us or Mission pages and keep that information in mind as you read.
  • Who is the site written for? Is the information directed towards the general public, students, or scholars?
  • Does the site show only one side of a topic? What type of sites do the external links connect to? Are these external sites reliable?
  • Does the site have ads and are they related to the content of the page? Be careful when using information from commercial websites.

Authority

  • Are the author’s credentials and background information provided?  Is their contact information available? Look for information on pages with names like About this SiteHomeAuthor Biography, or Contact Us.
  • Try finding out more about the people who produced the information through a web search.
  • Determine if the site is supported by a university, an organization or a commercial body. Look at the website’s header or read the organization’s Mission Page.
  • Can’t find anything? Try truncating back the URL or web address. Go to the address box at the top of your browser and delete all characters after the last slash ( / ) and press Enter. You might land on a new page, with more information about the site. Continue for each slash ( / ) in the address.

Date

  • Check for any date indicating when the page was published or updated. Look for this information near the title of the article, at the bottom of the page or on the Home Page. It is not always present.
  • Does the information look current? Sites can be updated and still contain outdated information.
  • Try the links. Are they still functional or do they lead to sites that are out of date, have moved or have been taken down?

Accuracy

  • Have you seen this information in a different source during your research? Does the text agree in general with these other sources?
  • Is there a list of references or a bibliography? Does the site state where it obtained its statistics, charts and other factual information?
  • Does the site provide you with relevant external links, possibly to its sources?
  • Are there many spelling or grammar errors in the text? Too many errors could lead you to doubt the accuracy of the information.

Relevance

  • Make sure to determine if your source is relevant to your research before using it.
  • Even if you find several websites relevant to your subject, try to use a variety of different source types (like books, encyclopedias and articles).
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