- Examination of an evaluation scale for websites as information resources
- No.50, p.125-149
More and more college students are turning to Web resources for gathering information for their report writing. Many of them, however, use websites inefficiently and seem unaware of their limitations. Existing Website evaluation tools show lack of effectiveness. Furthermore, at present there are only a few website evaluation tools developed in Japan.
The purpose of this study is to introduce the process of making an evaluation scale for websites as information resources, and to examine the effectiveness of the scale. A literature review of previous studies has made it clear that evaluation criteria for websites have two main dimensions. They are: (1) information reliability and (2) accessibility to information. The former dimension consists of five sub-dimensions: authority, accuracy/objectivity, coverage, currency/stability, and purpose/audience. For each of the five sub-dimensions and the second main dimension, twenty evaluation items were chosen. A 20-item/6-point Likert-scale Website evaluation scale was then created.
Effectiveness of the Website scale was examined using two experiments. In the first experiment, subjects were 110 Japanese college students and 5 specialists. The subjects assessed two kinds of Websites by using the scale. The two Websites were deliberately created so that their quality differed, one of a higher quality, and the other, a lower quality. The results of the experiment have shown the scale to possess a high level of stability, and that individual differences did not have significant effect in Website evaluation. The Website scale was found to be easy-to-use and suitable for most users.
In the second experiment, subjects used in the experiments were 91 Japanese college students. The subjects went over the 60 items in the checklist for Website evaluation before and after assessing the Website using the Website scale. The results of the checklist taken before and after the evaluation of website were compared. The result also suggests that the student’s consciousness in Website evaluation has risen, and essential skill in evaluating websites as information resources was acquired by using the Website scale.
These findings have indicated that the Website scale is indeed an effective tool for persons who use websites as information resources.
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