July 19

Website Evaluation Criteria

Create a table for website evaluation criteria. Go to the Cyberguide Ratings document and evaluate this tool as a guide to assessing the educational value of a site. Does the list cover all the criteria that you might apply? What criteria might you add? Is this too complex. Consider other resource selection criteria. Add in the educational criteria you consider the most important. Post your criteria on your Thinkspace and reflect on the process you have undertaken.

I started this process by creating my own blank website evaluation criteria table with three columns. For the Educational section, I initially chose five criteria, guided by the questions provided in the ETL501 module content.

The Cyberguide ratings document’s list of questions seemed relatively comprehensive, but it mixes Educational, Reliability and Technical criteria, without using those terms as headings, which made it a little confusing. For example, the questions in the third section were both Reliability and Technical related. Indeed, the questions in the fourth section were related to all three main types of criteria! By using those headings, the document could be somewhat simpler and easier to use.

Upon reflection, in the Educational section, I added a sixth criterion to my table – Audience. Although they seem somewhat similar, I felt as though there was a difference between an intended audience and a reading or cognitive level.

I also added a column to the right of the criteria. In a practical situation, this could be used to tick off each of the criteria, or add a comment on how the website addresses that particular element.

Educational Criteria

Reading Level
Cognitive Level

Reflect on what you have learnt so far. Create a list of questions that TLs might consider in relation to reliability criteria. What additional questions might TLs consider to judge whether a site is reliable for a particular range of students who are studying a particular topic? Add your reliability criteria as a comment or edit on your Thinkspace post about the Website Evaluation Criteria table.

Does the author have credibility?

Is there evidence that the information has been approved by other credible people?

What do reviews say about the information?

Are there spelling or grammatical mistakes?

Does the author show bias?

Are there glaring omissions in the information?

Is the information possible or probable in the real world?

Are there any inconsistencies or contradictions in the information?

Are there any other sources of information that support the other source?

Is the information current? Has the information been updated recently?

Does everybody have access to the information?

My reliability criteria is a mixture of Schrock’s website evaluation ABCs (2002) and Harris’ CARS checklist (2018). For example, Schrock mentions citations, which can fit under Harris’ Support criterion. However, I thought some of Schrock’s criteria were better off on their own, like Bias.

Reliability Criteria


Credibility & Authority  
Quality Control  
Grammar & Spelling  
Dates & Timeliness  

Look at the technical criteria included in Schrock’s surveys and reflect on whether there might be other technical criteria which you might consider to be important when selecting websites for school staff or students. Add your technical criteria as a comment or edit on your Thinkspace post about the Website Evaluation Criteria table.

Schrock’s surveys are great! But … I think that it is important to consider how much text is on a webpage. If you have too much text it can be a real turn off. I’ve added this criterion to my own table.

This activity has prepared me for real world website evaluation. Clearly, there are so many different sets of criteria to refer to, it is important to modify them so that they work for you.

There is no one definitive set of criteria that school librarians might apply, and school librarians can benefit from reviewing a number of criteria sets and selecting the parts that most suit their circumstances.” – Herring, 2011, p. 22

As I evaluate websites moving forward, it will be easy to adjust my table so that it is effective. Herring (2011, p. 22) notes that often, website evaluation criteria are too general. I wonder if my criteria are too general, but I don’t want to get too bogged down in the questions. A balance between not too general and not so specific that the evaluation becomes arduous, is probably the way to go.

Here are the Technical criteria that I chose for my table …

Technical Criteria


Fast Loading  
Easy to Navigate  
Not Too Much Text  
Not Too Many Graphics  
Working Links  


Harris, R. (2018). Evaluating Internet research sources. Virtual Salt. https://www.virtualsalt.com/evalu8it.htm

Herring, J. E. (2011). Web site evaluation: A key role for the school librarian. School Librarian, 27(8), 22-23. https://maureensresources.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/websiteevaluationlibrarian.pdf

Schrock, K. (2002). Teaching media literacy in the age of the Internet: The ABCs of website evaluation. http://www.kathyschrock.net/uploads/3/9/2/2/392267/weval_02.pdf

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Posted July 19, 2020 by murphda75 in category ETL501 The Dynamic Information Environment

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