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Introduction to Research in Engineering

What to look for

Evaluting Activity

Choose 1 set of sites below to compare and answer the questions below in your Logbook.


1. What is the purpose or motivation for the site?
2. What is the authority of the person or organization responsible for the web page?
3. Is the content objective?
4. Is the site information accurate?

1. Bernese Mountain Dogs
This site compared to this site.

2. Genealogy
This site compared to this site.

3. Environmental/Oilsands
This site compared to this site.

Evaluation Criteria

Evaluation Criteria: Use the following to test any web page that you are going to use in your research.

1. What is the purpose or motivation for the site?
      · Are they trying to sell you something?
      · Are the authors affiliated with a university or research centre?
      · Is contact information provided?

2. If there are advertisements on the site, are they clearly labelled as such?

3. What is the authority of the person or organization responsible for the web page?
      · Do they have a good reputation in this field?

4. Is the content objective?
      · Can it be verified by other sources?
      · Is the bias of any stated opinions acknowledged?

  5. Is the site content current?
      · How often is the site updated? Is there a date on it?
      · When was this specific page last revised?

6. Is the site information accurate?
      · Is the information grammatically and typographically accurate?      
      · Spelling, grammar and typographical errors indicate a lack of quality control and can result in further inaccuracies when using the information.

Check your URL for Clues
Check the address of sites you find using a search engine or URLs that you have been given for clues as to the reliability of the information. These domain names are common:

 .gov  Government Organization (US)
 .org  Nonprofit Organization
 .edu, .ac, .uk  Educational Institutions (US, Australia, UK)
 .ca, .uk, .au  Geographic Indicator for organizations outside the United States.  Each country has its own code (ie. addresses for Canadian colleges and universities include the name of the institution in the address ie:
 .net   Internet Service Provider or Computer Organization (internet service providers have very little control over what is posted)
 .com  Commercial Organization
   URLs for personal pages often contain a tilde (~)

Adapted from: "Screen Test: Separating Fact from Fiction Online". Inc. Online. 12/29/98. Available at (accessed 18 Aug 2005).    

Contact Us


Telephone: (403) 220-6042


If you are unsure about the accuracy, authority etc. of the site you are looking at print yourself a copy of the Evaluating Web Resource Checklist (from the University of Alberta) fill it in and you should be able to better understand whether or not this is a useable resource for your research.

Google Scholar

Google Scholar provides a simple way to search the scholarly literature. Google Scholar searches across many disciplines and sources such as peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, abstracts and articles, from academic publishers, professional societies, preprint repositories, universities and other scholarly organizations.