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Evaluating Information - STAAR Method: STAAR Evaluation Method

This guide is designed to help you evaluate websites & other sources of information

STAAR Website Evaluation Method

Is your website a S.T.A.A.R.?

Can you tell if a web page is worth using or not?

Look at the 5 points in the STAAR evaluation method to see how it stacks up.

Give the website your own personal rating.


Slant – What is the Slant (viewpoint) of the website?

  1. Is the information unbiased and free from prejudice without promoting a specific personal, political, religious, and or ideological viewpoint?
  2. ˜Is the purpose of the page stated? Is the message clearly stated?
    • Is the purpose to: inform? teach? demonstrate?
    • Is the purpose to: entertain? sell? persuade?
  3. Are there editorials and if so are the editorials clearly labeled?
  4. ˜  Is advertising content vs. informational content easily distinguishable?
  5. ˜  Are both sides of a controversial issue presented?

Topical & Timely – Is the Website up-to-date? Is the material relevant to the topic?

  1. ˜When was the information gathered/created? Is the material up-to-date?
    • Is the information provided the type of information that dates quickly (e.g. statistics, technological information, etc.)?
    • Is this a first edition or not? Further editions indicate a source has been revised and updated to reflect changes in knowledge, include new information.
  2. ˜When was the information posted?
  3. ˜When was the website revised last? (check for a date at the bottom of the page)
  4. ˜Is there evidence of newly added information or links?
  5. ˜Are the links functional and up-to-date, reflecting current information?

Accuracy – What is the reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the information on the website?

  1. ˜  Where does the information come from?
    • Are references / citations provided?
    • Are the original sources of information listed?
    • Can you verify any of the information in independent sources or from your own knowledge?
  2. ˜  Has the information been reviewed or refereed by experts in the field?
  3. ˜  Does the language or tone seem biased?
  4. ˜  Is the webpage complete or is it missing information/pages?
  5. ˜  Are there spelling, grammar, or other typos?

Authority – Who is the authority or expert associated with the website?

  1. Can you tell who is the author / creator / sponsor?
  2. ˜  Are the creator’s credentials listed?
    • Is the creator a teacher/expert in the field or student of the topic?
    • Does the creator have a credible reputation?
    • Is the creator affiliated with an organization, corporation, government agency, university etc.?
  3. ˜  Is there contact information, such as a phone number, e-mail address etc.?
  4. ˜  Has the creator published works in traditional formats such as books or journal articles?
  5. ˜  Is the website supported or sponsored by an organization?
    • Is the author affiliated with this organization?
    • Is there advertising for the organization on the web page?
    • What does the domain name/URL reveal about the source of the information, if anything? (e.g. .com .edu .gov .org .net)

Relevance – Does the content of the website have direct bearing on the topic? Is it pertinent? How well does it answer the research question?

  1. ˜  What is the scope of the information? Is the page extremely specific or very broad?< >Does the information contain the breadth and depth needed?Will this information be useful to the project?
  2. ˜  Is the information written in a form that is useable?
    • Who is the intended audience? (i.e. reading level, technical level)
    • Is the information in a useful format such as words, pictures, charts, sounds, or video?
  3. ˜  Is the information unique? Do the facts contribute something new or add to your knowledge of the subject?
  4. ˜  Is the information available elsewhere, such as in print or electronic format? Journal article, book etc.?
  5. ˜  Could you find the same or better information in another source? Sometimes the first result is not the best?
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