No, you can’t. Anyone can make a website and put it on the World Wide Web. They do not have to be professionals or experts on their topic. They could be making it all up. They may also have the facts correct but have an opinion about those facts that is not really acceptable or understandable. They may present things in a very one-sided way, or in a way that twists the truth.That is why it is important to check any website that you use for research, and to double-check by visiting other websites, including reference sites like encyclopedias and dictionaries.
So how do you know if you can trust a website?
Use this quick checklist when you want to know if you can trust the information on a website/page:
- Does the website have a reliable domain, such as .edu, .gov,.org,.com?
- Does the website give the name and contact details of the person/people who created and maintain it?
- Does the website have an ‘About’ section that tells you more about the person/people who created and maintain it?
- Does it seem like the site is updated regularly and the content is checked or new content is added?
- If the site requires you to register in order to use it, does it have a privacy statement?
- Does the information seem to be objective and balanced, or does the writer seem to be emotional about it?
- Can you find confirmation of the information given on another website or in a book or other source?