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How Do I Choose the Best Website Evaluation Rubric?

By Alex Newth
Updated May 16, 2024
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A website evaluation rubric is used to measure the quality of a website based on several factors, and different rubrics may measure different factors. You should determine your need for a website evaluation rubric because, for example, choosing a shopping website rubric when you are using a research website that has nothing to do with shopping may yield incorrect results. The website rubric should be consistent or the results may be questionable. All factors should be measureable and should not be left to personal feelings. After the rubric is finished, a good rubric will have a concise scoring system that tells you how good or trustworthy the website is.

Before choosing any website evaluation rubric, you must understand your need for the rubric. If you are looking to buy something from a website, using a shopping website rubric would measure factors needed for a good shopping experience. Using a rubric made for another purpose, such as a research rubric, may yield inaccurate results.

A website evaluation rubric should have consistent scoring or the quality of the rubric may be questionable. For example, if one question asks about the number of images on a website and then gives a low score for a high number of images, then any other questions concerning images should hold this same opinion. An inconsistent rubric may have another question that says or implies that websites with many images are better than those with fewer images.

The purpose of a rubric is to measure a website’s quality, so a website evaluation rubric should only contain questions and answers can that can be checked without the interference of personal feelings. For example, if the question is on safety, then measurable answers will mention security certificates, secure logins and advanced verification methods. Opinion-based measurements may ask if you feel safe on the website, without bringing up features that can be seen or measured.

After the scoring is finished, there should be a concise list of what each score means. Some rubrics may just say a website is good if it has 20 points, but will not explain why, nor will the rubric say what the score really means. A better rubric will explain that a score of 20 means the website can be used for research, but you may need other references to back up the information. This ensures that you know the exact quality level of the website and what you can do with the website based on its quality.

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Discussion Comments
By miriam98 — On Nov 19, 2011

@Charred - I have to admit that I’ve never used a rubric for website evaluation. The concept of a rubric is not new to me.

I’ve come across it in my son’s schoolwork. The teachers will use a rubric to evaluate an assignment, and typically they’ll staple the rubric to the assignment so that you know how they arrived at their final score.

I think it’s a great idea and very suitable for websites, especially since so many sites out there exist simply to sell products on the side, as has been suggested already.

If I am doing research I typically go to some site like EBSCO Host, which is purely research driven, and doesn’t include “fluff” in its search results. However, I think I can expand my horizons a little bit and use general Internet sources for my research, as long as I have a good rubric to work with.

By Charred — On Nov 18, 2011

@David09 - I believe the research website rubric would be the most straightforward one to put together. Basically I would ask questions about the reputability of the articles on a website.

Are they tied to print publications, educational sites, or better yet peer reviewed publications – or are they simply statements of opinion? Is the overall purpose of the site there to dispense information or opinion? How current is the site?

Is the domain name something like .edu or .gov? These designate educational institutions and government sites, respectively, and in my opinion are the best sources of information.

By David09 — On Nov 18, 2011

@MrMoody - I think the evaluation of quality is an objective one. I know this because I’ve heard that the search engines use quality as a criterion in their evaluation of websites.

How do they evaluate the sites? Well, the actual algorithms are closely guarded trade secrets. But I do know that they place a high priority on content.

As a matter of fact, it’s become quite axiomatic to say that “Content is king.” The search engines will check how much valid content is on the site, by looking at things like keywords. The greater the content, the more credible the sight – that’s the basic formula.

If it’s good enough for the search engines it should be good enough for us as well. Look for websites that provide solid information, hopefully from multiple sources. I don’t think you can go wrong that way.

By MrMoody — On Nov 17, 2011

While I get the idea that quality may mean different things depending on whether you are talking about a research website or one that is a shopping cart, I think there are certain common denominators for good websites.

Any website that is flooded with popup ads is a poor website in my opinion. It suggests that the website exists mainly to make money from affiliate links, rather than meeting the reader’s needs.

So I would include the extent of advertising on my rubric for evaluating a website. I certainly believe that a website is entitled to have some advertising, but within reason.

You will notice that a lot of the “free” web hosting websites have excessive advertising. They are low quality sites in my opinion.

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