Week 2, Topic 2 = Critically evaluating websites

This week the task was to critically evaluate a website as a group. My group was given the website http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/ to look at and evaluate.

This guide from 1995 is still very much valid and was helpful in remembering everything you should check before making sure a website is relevant or trustworthy. The site has a sort of checklist which makes it easier. Some of the things on that check list are:

  • Is it a personal page?
  • domain name (.org, .gov, .mil, .edu)
  • publisher(s) of the page
  • Author?
  • Is it dated? Is it current enough?
  • authors credentials?
  • documented or linked sources?

The website is general world history with some British and American politics mixed in there.
The site seems like a good place to get the basics of world history when writing essays and assignments. From 2000-2013 most of the website was written by Chris Trueman who had a BA (Honours) in history from Aberystwyth University and an MA in management from Brighton University. After he died in 2013 it appears that his niece and nephew and the team of history graduates from Business Data took over, but I am not sure how much one should trust them as that’s the only thing about them mentioned. No PhD, BA’s or MA’s mentioned, just that they’re history graduates. No names either so what makes them qualified or trustworthy?

The website does not have a domain name like mentioned in the list above. It is simply just a .co.uk domain name which is not necessarily a bad thing, but does put some doubt as to how much to trust the site.

Unless you have Adblock for your webbrowser like I do then the first thing you’ll see is probably all the ads all around the website. They are very distracting and although they are probably there to get money to keep the site going I think they would do better with fewer ads. As it is there are just too many.

The site is a bit confusing and could probably use a makeover with an even easier way to find what you’re looking for. We also found that there is no referencing in any of the posts we looked at which isn’t that great and could diminish some of the credibility of the site itself. Trueman must have used some sources to write these texts to get them as accurate as possible so why not put the references in the posts or at the bottom of the posts. Otherwise, the way it is now, just makes it seem like Trueman wrote everything from memory and while he may be a brilliant man with his BA (Hons) and MA, it does not inspire much confidence as logically we know he learnt all this information somewhere.

There is also a blog on the site where you can post your own blogposts. This can be a really good thing, but since none of the blogposts have the name of the author we don’t know if anything in there is credible which is a shame as there are probably a lot of brilliant minds out there wanting to share their knowledge on this or other websites whom people might not take seriously when there is no name attached.

If you’re gonna use this site for assignments then I suggest using it just for the basic information and get more in depth information elsewhere. The site is easily read and understandable, but like I’ve mentioned before, if you are to use it make sure to double check it with other reliable sources. The internet is a well of information, but be careful what and how you use it.

References/Bibliography:

Kupersmith, J. (1995) Evaluating Web Pages: Techniques to Apply & Questions to Ask
Trueman, C. (2010) History Learning Site

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