Whether researching for an assignment or personal curiosity the internet can be a very quick and rewarding fountain of information; it can also be a quagmire of personal opinions and misinformation. All information you gather from the internet should be given some scrutiny, printed materials like those collected in a library go through an evaluative and editorial process before they are published and collected in libraries. The Internet has removed the restrictions and editorial process typical for print materials; anyone can publish on the web.
To insure that the Web sites you use as information sources are acceptable, you should ask questions about those sites. The STAAR method of web page evaluation has been created to help you find quality (or 5 STAAR) websites.
The Information and it's counterfeits document will help you be able to distinguish real information from its three look-a-likes, or counterfeits: propaganda, misinformation and disinformation. Understanding the counterfeits will enable you to become a much more critical consumer of information.
When evaluating a website there are several things to take into consideration, one of the first things to look at is the URL including the domain suffix this can tell you several things about the website, the creator, the audience, the purpose and sometimes even the country of origin.
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 S.T.A.A.R. evaluation method to see how it stacks up. Give the website your own personal rating. The S.T.A.A.R. evaluation method was created by Laura Karas and the Librarians at University of South Carolina Upstate based on both the A.B.C. and the C.R.A.A.P. methods of evaluating websites.
For print copies please look to the STAAR Forms box below.
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?
Topical & Timely – Is the Website up-to-date? Is the material relevant to the topic?
Accuracy – What is the reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the information on the website?
Authority – Who is the authority or expert associated with the website?
Relevance – Does the content of the website have direct bearing on the topic? Is it pertinent? How well does it answer the research question?