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Communication Research Guide

Evaluating Website Content

One of the biggest problems that students have with using websites in their research is that they are not sure that the content that they find is accurate. Here are some basic ways to evaluate a website:

  • What does the domain name tell you? Is the site a .com, .edu, or .gov?
  • Is there clear authorship on the site? Does the author state their credentials?
  • Is there an "About" page?
  • Is there contact information or references or citations listed?

These are guidelines from credible institutions to help you evaluate a website and its content:

  1. Cornell Univeristy Library: Evaluating Websites
  2. UC Berkeley Library: Evaluating Web Pages
  3. Johns Hopkins Libraries: Evaluating Information Online

Evaluating Blogs

Internet marketing strategist and blogger Steven Streight came up with some basic guidelines that all professional blogs should meet:
  • Tolerance for opposing viewpoints (not deleting comments the author disagrees with)
  • Blog author responds in a timely manner to comments and posts (in a non-summarizing way)
  • Professional use of visual elements
  • Free from sleazy sponsored links and spam comment posts
  • Free of spelling and grammar errors

Print and Broadcast Advertisements

  • PressDisplay
    A rolling 60-day archive of more than 300 newspapers from around the world, exactly as they appear in print (including ads).
  • Ad*Access
    Presents images for over 7,000 advertisements printed in U.S. and Canadian newspapers and magazines between 1911 and 1955.
  • The Emergence of Advertising in America: 1850 - 1920
    Presents over 9,000 images that "illustrate the rise of consumer culture, especially after the American Civil War, and the birth of a professionalized advertising industry in the United States."
  • Vintage Ad Browser
    This site aims to collect vintage ads from a variety of sources, including comic books, CD-Roms, websites, APIs, your submissions, book, magazine & comic book scans, and more.
  • PSA Central
    The Ad Council, the producer of public service ads (PSAs) on TV and radio, in newspapers and magazines, on billboards and on the Web, makes a wide variety of these ads available for preview or download on this site.
  • AdViews
    AdViews is a digital archive of vintage television commercials created or collected by the D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles (DMB&B) advertising agency, dated 1950s - 1980s.


Culture and Entertainment

Blogs featured here are written by seasoned media industry veterans. Make sure you evaluate any blog you consult for research.
Comprised of 2,500+ writers who publish pop culture, politics, technology, books, film news & reviews for contemporary society.
Media and news by Jeff Jarvis.
Dedicated to design and culture.
Flagship blog for Gawker Media, an online media company that owns 10 blogs. This one focuses on celebrities and the media industry.
Focuses on diversified media news, resources and industry data.
Open discussion on communications design & brand strategy issues.
Recaps, recommendations of today's shows.
Rated one of Time Magazine's Top 100 design influences. Great photography.

Culture & Entertainment