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ENGL 151R: Report Writing (+ Business Plans): Websites

For more websites pertaining to writing specific parts of a business plan, please use the tab above entitled Researching Parts of the Business Plan.

Business Web sites

Evaluating Websites

Remember, not everything found on the Internet is reliable. Anyone can put anything up on the Web. When you find information that you might consider using on a college paper or project, be sure to answer these questions to determine if the information is trustworthy:

1) AUTHORITY

  • Who published this website?
  • What are the author's credentials?
  • Does the author indicate his/her position or educational background?
  • Is the author a researcher in the field, a popular writer who has interest in the subject, or a total unknown who is stating his/her opinion on an issue about which he/she may not be knowledgeable?
  • Is there information about contacting the author? (E-mail address, phone number, etc.)
  • Is the author a respected corporation or government agency?
  • Does the author indicate the method of research used or provide any supportive evidence?
  • Check the "top level domain" in the URL (website address). Examples:
    • .com=commercial
    • .mil=military
    • .edu=educational
    • .net=network
    • .gov=government
    • .org=organization (non-profit)

2) ACCURACY

  • Has the site been edited, verified or peer-reviewed by others?
  • Is it well-written and free of errors?
  • Are correct grammar and spelling used?
  • Are the author's sources cited?
  • Are statistics or data current?

3) OBJECTIVITY

  • Does the author's affiliation or the sponsors of the website influence the opinions or views presented?
  • Is the information fact or opinion?
  • Is there a cultural or religious bias?
  • Are there advertisements?
  • Is the author trying to manipulate your thinking with this information?

4) CURRENCY

  • Is the information up-to-date?
  • When was the site produced?
  • How often is the site updated? Are the updates stated?
  • Do the links work?

5) COVERAGE

  • Are all aspects of the subject covered?
  • What level of detail is provided?
  • Is the information limited to certain time periods?
  • What types of materials are covered?
  • To what audience is the material aimed? (Scholars, general readers, children, etc.)