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The University of Massachusetts Amherst

NUTRITN 494A Sem-Human Nutrition - Lisa Troy

information from Library session

Evaluating Websites

How can you tell whether information you find on the web is accurate? The following criteria can help you with evaluating web resources.

Accuracy: The domain (i.e. .com) can tell you a lot about a website. Sites can be .com (commercial), .edu (academic institutions), .gov (governmental), .mil (military), or .org (organization - usually non-commercial). Of these, .edu and .gov sites are the most trustworthy.

Objectivity: Is the site subjective (opinion-based) or objective (fact-based)?


  • Are the authors trying to sell you something? Convince you of something? Convey factual information?
  • Look for sections like "About Us" or "Mission Statement" to get a better idea of what the site is trying to do.
  • Some websites that appear to be informational and scholarly are actually sneakily trying to sell you something or have a hidden agenda, so you need to play detective and dig for clues about a site's true purpose.

Timeliness: Hunt around for a "last updated" statement. If it's been more than a year or two since the last update, it can be a clue that the site is not maintained very well.

Authority: Can you find out who the author of the content is? If so, is s/he an expert on the subject? Does the author leave contact information?

MORE on Evaluating Web Pages from UC Berkeley

National Library of Medicine's Selection Guidelines for Non-National Library of Medicine Resources

Evidence-Based Nutrition Sources

Some sources for evidence-based information are available on the web.

Both PubMed and Cochrane Reviews (part of Cochrane Library) are also available through our UMass Amherst Libraries databases. Using these versions, you will have access to many more full text articles than through the public version.

Library Assignment