Evaluating sources is a critical part of doing research!
There are many different approaches to evaluating sources, both traditional print books/journals and websites. They generally use similar criteria. I prefer using the 5 Ws:
Based on Kathy Schrock’s 5 W's of Web Site Evaluation http://www.schrockguide.net/information-literacy.html
Tip: Is this information published by an organization or company? If there is no other author listed, consider the organization/company to be the author.
Utilize domains to evaluate websites
Knowing what the domains stand for can assist you in your evaluation.
.gov - Government - indicates that the site is sponsored by federal, state or local government. The federal government sponsors several educational sites covering many topics from medicine to plants. The government also has many sites with helpful statistical information.
.edu - Education - indicates that the site is sponsored by an educational institution. As always, carefully evaluate the information on these pages as individual students and faculty can utilize the space to present a variety of information.
.org - Organization - usually indicates that the site is sponsored by an organization, but this domain is now available to anyone. These pages sometimes present useful information but can also be used to persuade and present one side of an issue.
.com - Company - usually a commercial site that is selling a product or service.