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Canadian History Subject Guide

5 keys to Website evaluation


You can't believe everything you read, see or hear! Use this checklist to select the best.


  • Is the publication date noted?
  • Is the information/publication date current for your topic? 
  • Has the website been recently updated?
  • Are the links still active and useful?
  • How old is the information being given? Is the information outdated?
  • How old is the information being cited/referenced in the resource compared to the publication date of the source?


  • Does the information relate to your research topic. Does it answer the questions you are asking?
  • Who is the intended audience? Is it meant for the general public? Children? Academics?
  • Is the level of information appropriate for you?
  • Is this the best resource out there? Have you looked for other sources?


  • Who is the author and what are their credentials? (Credentials = Are they an expert who works within the field OR an individual with a PhD or higher education on the subject OR are they an academic with affiliations to reputable institutions?)
  • Are there any organizational affiliations that may create bias?
  • Look at the domain name what doe it tell you?
      .ca - Canadian based website – Canadian federal government site – British Columbia provincial government site
      .gov – U.S. government site
      .edu – U.S. educational institution
      .com/.net/.org – no longer serve any distinction, anyone can get any of them for a fee.


  • Can you tell where the information comes from? Are resources cited? What type of resources are cited?
  • Is the information factual and can it be verified?
  • Are there grammatical errors or typos?
  • Has the source been reviewed by experts in the field?
  • Is it biased? Does the writer have a calm tone?
  • Does other material that you have found for your research support their claims?


  • Who is the intended audience? General public, children, academics etc.
  • Why was the site created? For education, informational, to persuade or sell something?
  • Is it fact, opinion, or propaganda?
  • Is the purpose/mission/goals clearly stated on the site?
  • Are there advertisements? If so why are they there and what are they selling?
  • Is the information presented impartial and objective?

Primary Sources & Websites