Never be afraid to sit awhile and think. -- Lorraine Hansberry

T is for Thinking

The ICYouSee Guide to Critical Thinking
About What You See on the Web

Use the Web Wisely

For fun and games and pretty pictures, the Web is fine. But is the Web a good research tool?
The answer is a qualified yes, and only if you are careful.

Using the Web well takes more than just knowing how to google. To use the Web wisely and efficiently, especially for research, consider the following six suggestions:

1) Make sure you are in the right place.

2) When in doubt, doubt.

3) Consider the source.

4) Know what's happening.

5) Look at details.

6) Distinguish Web pages from pages found on the Web.


In addition to these six suggestions about evaluating sources, here are some criteria that are commonly used.

  • Authority: Do you think the authors have authority or expertise to write on the subject they are writing about? Is it clear who is responsible for the site (commercial enterprise, government body, academic institution, or just the author)?
  • Accuracy: Do you have good reason to believe that the information on the site is accurate? Do authors back up their conclusions with supportive evidence and documentation?
  • Objectivity: Is the purpose of the information clearly stated? Can you determine the authorís point of view? Did you detect any biases (personal, political, religious, or cultural)?
  • Currency: Was the information found on the page written recently? Has the site been kept up-to-date?
  • Coverage: Does this site address the topic you are researching? Is the information basic and cursory or detailed and scholarly? Is the information presented substantial (something more in depth than you would find in an encyclopedia or Wiki)?
  • Value: Does the site offer anything informative, unique, or insightful? Is the site free of careless errors, misspelled words, and poor grammar? Are their important issues that have been omitted or still need to be addressed? Was the page worth visiting?


After you have considered the suggestions and criteria listed on this page, to review, there is a quiz and one more st*p*d assignment.

A Note to Instructors

There are four exercises to choose from:
Causes of Poverty, Eggs and Cholesterol, Martin Luther King, and Hydraulic Fracturing.
I hereby grant permission for you to use or adapt the assignments. I only request that you let me know.
For assistance in completing this assignment, you may find this evaluation check list helpful.

Now in its third decade on the Web, T is for Thinking: the ICYouSee Guide to Critical Thinking is the creation of
John R. Henderson
, a retired reference librarian from the Ithaca College Library. Once maintained on the Ithaca College
webserver, this site is now maintained independently at
First created in November 1994.
Last updated on April 7, 2021.