Website Evaluation Tool
checkmarkKnow the date of your information

T in SPAT represents the word 'Timeliness.'

The 'T' reminds you to find the date the content was published. This tells you if you have old, new or questionable information.

[ How Do I Find That? ]  [ Why This Matters ]  [ Review Question ]  

how to find site address and provider.   How Do I Find That?

1. Look for a publication date, last updated date or date created.

These dates are usually located either within the article or at the bottom of the page.

  1. Sometimes the date is located within the immediate article:

    date located in article.
  2. Sometimes the date is found at the bottom of a page as either the date the page was published or the date the page was last updated:

    date last updated.

    Pages that list only the last updated date or date created is helpful but leaves many questions. For example, in the example we used above from the 'Cancer Guide' website, the page was created March 3rd, 2002 and last updated August 7, 2004. It is impossible to know what information on that page was written in 2002 vs. 2004.

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why these matter   Why This Matters
  • Knowing the date information was published helps you decide if information is accurate for your needs.

    1. If you are writing a historical perspective on medicine, older information may work.

    2. If you need information on how to treat a disease you want the most current information.

    3. If no date is provided, there is no way to know when the information was published. This is not a 'good' web page.

review question   Review Question

Question:You found a page on US government law and want to use it for a report you are writing. You can not find a publication time period for the web page. Should you use the page as an information source?

Answer: No.

Reasoning: If there is no date on the web page then you have no way to know if the information on the page is valid for today or is outdated.

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