Once students had selected a topic from a list that I provided to them, they were individually asked to conduct research on their chosen topics with the specific goal of locating a minimum of 10 credible, relevant, and timely source materials related to their chosen topics. Students were cautioned that while they needed to locate a minimum of 10 source materials, they more than likely would need to examine and assess many more sources than 10 (with the understanding that some web resources, even if relevant to the topic under study, are not credible as “academic research”). To assist them in this vetting and assessment process, I adapted a pre-existing web resource evaluation rubric that they were required to use (and that I make available as a Word document below). For each web resource that students examined (even if they rejected the site as not credible and did not include it in their final ten), they were asked to fill out one of these rubrics and turn in a hard copy to me.
The rubric that we used included six criteria for evaluation--authorial expertise, reputability of sponsoring organization, citation of source materials, currency of site, type of domain, and primary purpose of site--and each criterion was scored from "0" to "3" (with "3" reflecting the highest degree of authorial expertise, site credibility, etc. Students were encouraged to eliminate from consideration sites that scored "10" or fewer points and were asked to provide (in their annotations) an explanation of faults with and a justification for including in their final webographies any sites that scored in the "11-14" score range. Sites in the "15-18" score range were considered unquestionably credible and therefore worthy of inclusion in student webographies.
To view a copy of Dr. Diehl's Webpage Evaluation Rubric, please click HERE. This Webpage Evaluation Rubric was adapted from the rubric found HERE.