When I evaluate online sources to there are several aspects of the source that I look at. I first check to make sure it comes from a credible author or organization. I also like to make sure that the source is recent. The source should have substantial information on the topic of research. If it is a very brief source that does not provide much information it may not be a good option. If there is any space for comments or thoughts by readers of the article or visiters to the website, ect. then I like to look at the comments made to see what other people’s opinions are of the source. If they are generally positive then it is more likely a good source because there is a general agreement that this is a good source. However, if they are generally negative then that is a bad sign. If the general opinion is that the source is not helpful then it may not be a good source to choose from. Additionally, although I find this commentary valuable, the commentary should not provide the information desired. A source that compromises of a general question open to answers from the public will not be as reliable as information from a credible author or organization on the desired topic.
An example of a source that may not be particularly desirable is this discussion board: http://askville.amazon.com/age-start-piano-lessons-child/AnswerViewer.do?requestId=4134815 Although information form the general public can be very helpful, in can also be incredibly unreliable. The people providing the information on the topic of interest are not credible authors or organizations, but could be anyone on the internet choosing to answer the question. Additionally, the answers come in short statements and do not provide an in depth look into this topic. Additionally, these posts were made over 6 years ago. They are not strikingly out of date by any means, but there are better options for finding updated sources. The comments on this particular source are generally positive, but sources such as this can have contrasting information that do not complement other information provided and can lead to more confusion rather than clarity.
One source that I find to be an excellent example of a good source is the following article: http://www.musicteachershelper.com/blog/when-is-my-child-ready-for-lessons/ This article is from the organization, “Music Teachers Helper”. This organization has a presentable home page and offers many helpful ideas and thoughts on music, music education, and music’s importance in the presence of young lives. The article was written on January 2, 2014, just two weeks before this post, so it is most definitely recent. There is a place for comments at the bottom and all of the comments are very positive about the article.