The WebGuide is a directory of child development sites that have been
systematically evaluated and approved. Evaluations are based on the credibility
of the site's sponsoring organization, the research base of its content, and
its relevance. Thousands of sites are screened and evaluated each year, and
only those that score highly are listed on the WebGuide. These trustworthy
sites can be searched either through our topics or through our Google Custom
Search function, which searches only WebGuide approved sites.
||The general process consists of:
||extensive training of evaluators
basic screening process, eliminating most sites
rigorous evaluation, passing only a small percentage of sites
final approval and posting for inclusion in WebGuide links and search database
Screening of Sites
Only sites that have been carefully screened are considered for evaluation.
Sites that are most likely to be eliminated through the screening process are
those which are:
lacking a clearly identified sponsor
lacking sufficient content on the topic
Sites are also eliminated during the screening process if they are based on
minimal research and are being considered for one of the research-based
categories (i.e., family/parenting, education/learning, typical child
development, or health/mental health).
The Overall Evaluation
After a site has passed the screening process, it is systematically evaluated.
Only a small percentage of sites that are evaluated are listed on the WebGuide.
Most of the research-based sites listed in the WebGuide have received an
overall evaluation of:
A few listed sites have received an overall evaluation of:
Sites are not listed on the WebGuide if they have received a rating of:
sites are also evaluated,
but they are accepted or rejected rather than assigned a one-to-five star
rating. A high cut-off point is adopted so that only the most trustworthy sites
are included in the WebGuide.
We use sampling techniques for selecting material on the site rather than
reviewing the entire site. There may be more information on the site than
indicated in our review.
Our evaluation system is based on four criteria: authority, content, ease of
use, and stability of site. Authority and content are more important than ease
of use, which is more important than stability, in determining the overall
score. The way in which these criteria are defined depends upon the type of
site being evaluated--whether it is research-based, involves
resources/recreation, or is a combination of the two.
For research-based sites (i.e., those listed in the family/parenting,
education/learning, typical child development, and health/mental health
categories), the emphasis is on documentation of information and academic
credentials. Click here
for more details.
For sites included in the resources/recreation category, the emphasis is on a
greater range of credentials (non-academic as well as academic qualifications),
whether the site contains information by region, limits on commercial
advertising, and inclusion of contact information. Click
for more details.
For sites included within the features "ask an expert sites", "research news
sites", and "one of a kind sites", the criteria are a combination of those
described above. Click here
For medical sites (i.e., those listed in the medical category), the emphasis is
on documentation of information and academic credentials of the medical review
board for the site. Attention is also given to conflict of interest for these
sites. Click here
for more details.
The rating team is made up of graduate students at Tufts University who are
extensively trained in the use of the WebGuide evaluation method and are
closely supervised by faculty. Raters must achieve a high level of reliability
before they are allowed to score the web sites. After a site is evaluated it is
reviewed by a faculty member at Tufts before it is included on the WebGuide.
Evidence of the Merits of the WebGuide Evaluation System
Research involving experts in child development indicates that the WebGuide
Evaluation System meets scientific standards of excellence. Research involving parents and professionals
indicates that they endorse the criteria adopted in our evaluation system. To
find out more about the WebGuide Evaluation System, write us at