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Arkansas State University

Evaluating Websites: Purpose

How to tell the good from the bad.

Purpose

A good website is one that has a clear purpose.  You should be able to go to a site and immediately tell why the site was put together.  Was it to inform you?  Is it trying to sell you something?  

Possible purposes include:

Commercial      Retail sites such as eBay or Amazon
Informative   News sites, government pages, weather, etc
Educational   Sites for students and teachers
Entertainment   The sites you visit just for fun
Persuasive   Opinion sites, political and religious sites
Personal   Personal web pages and blogs
Institutional   University and charity sites
Hoaxes   Scam sites that may ask for personal information.  Could also be sites created for fun with no intent on harm.

 

When doing research online, you want to look for informative or educational websites.  Sites that are meant to entertain or share opinions don't always contain factual information.  Try to stay away from sites with no clear purpose.

Examples

Historian of the Future

                 

CDC Zombie Preparedness

Historian of the Future

 

CDC Zombie Preparedness

Historian, research, lecturer, author and speaker Charles Otman discusses nanotechnology, nanobiology, the Internet, bioconvergence, synthetic sentience and many, many other confusing topics.   This .gov site mixes disaster information with entertainment. They specify that this is a "tongue-in-cheek campaign to engage new audiences with preparedness messages."