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CSD 291 Normal Language Development

Gold Standard Criteria

Gold Standard criteria                                                                                  
In class we talked about the importance of knowing who wrote the content and/or is responsible for the site. 

  • What are the author(s) credentials? 
  • Are the author(s) experts in the field?
  • Readers should be able to easily find contact information. 
  • Pay attention to who sponsors the site.  ASHA sponsors the ASHA website.  They are a credible sponsor. Remember the Tree Octopus.  Not a credible sponsor. 
  • Google the authors to find out who they are and their affiliation.  


  • In class we talked about how important it is for a website  to be current and contain current information.   
  • How current are the links within the website?
  • Is the information up-to-date? Links should be to current news / scholarship / research. 
  • Check other sources to be certain the information is current.


  • Does the website contain accurate information?  
  • Is the information backed up by credible sources? 
  • Check other sources to verify sketchy claims. 
  • The content should be appropriate and professional. 
  • Grammar and vocabulary should be professional and correct.  


  • Does the website cover the topic thoroughly?  
  • Does the website adequately cover the topic or does the website go through to other websites? 
  • We talked in class about bad websites that don't provide complete information.  

Host / Domain 

  • The domain lends authority to a site.  For example a .gov or a .org are likely to have better and more reliable content than a .com site. 
  • Is the host a reputable organization or educational site or a government site?   
  • The class pointed out that it's important to recognize the domain address. A .com site will not likely meet the Gold Standards.  
  • The domain can be a hint that the website could have a hidden agenda such as selling a dubious product. 
  • Remember the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database ?  


  • Does the information reflect an author's bias? If the author has a position, is it well reasoned and argued and supported by empirical evidence? 
  • We talked in class about bad websites that try to persuade the reader to do something or buy something.
  • We talked in class about websites that use click bait to attract attention and encourage visitors to clink on a link to other web pages.
  • Content should stay on focus and not wander off into an unrelated area. 
  • One group mentioned the presence of public comments on the site.   If there are public comments on the site, how objective are the comments?  


  • We talked in class about poor navigation, cluttered pages, messy pages, dead links, and links to a pay wall as signs of a bad website.
  •  A good website should be easy to read and be easy for the visitor to locate information.  One group pointed out that a good website should have clearly written tabs to guide the user. 
  • The readers should be able to find information and trace citations.  
  • The readers should be able to easily navigate through the website.   
  • Images should be current and appropriate to the site.   Too many canned images give the appearance of a fake site. 


  • Too many ads can undermine the site's credibility. 
  • Don't forget The Autism Site.  Make sure there is a balance between legitimate information and merchandise for sale. 


Website Evaluation Assignment

Website Evaluation Outline

Locate two reputable and current Internet websites that address your chosen topic.

1. How well does each web site meet the Gold Standard? List the criteria.  

2. Write and discuss in at least two paragraphs, why the sites you chose are reputable. 
Consider the following:

Discuss why you believe the two websites best relate to language acquisition and development (NOT treatment) for the topic. 
Why would you recommend the websites to a specific audience such as a parent, a client, or a caretaker?

What kinds of knowledge about the topic will they gain?

3.  Conclude with one paragraph that discusses what you learned with respect to your topic from the websites you chose.


Website criteria

Example of a Gold Standard website: 

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)
ASHA website is directory that takes the readers to links with authoritative information.   

Google offers many search techniques to help refine results. For example:

Enclose keywords in quotes to search an exact phrase: "language development"

Limit search to specific domain:

Limit site to specific domain:


Topics: Choose one of the following topics related to language acquisition and development (NOT on treatment):

  • Gesture development: the role it plays in language development
  • Gender differences in language development- (not including gender identity because it may be hard to find specific developmental information at this time)
  • Language development in Late Talkers- how these children develop differently from TD peers
  • Language development in Special Populations- e.g., autism, Down syndrome, other syndromes, prematurity (pick one)
  • Language development facilitators- child directed speech, social interaction, etc. (stick to brain research or qualitative studies describing how these facilitate language without being specific intervention strategies)
  • Language development in bilingual or multilingual individuals (may also include speakers of dialect)
  • Language development in Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals- (verbal and/or manual communication)
  • Emergent literacy- early reading development (when does this begin in children- what are developmental milestones)