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Ethnic American Literature Research: Web links

Resources and tips for researchers in ENG234

A few reliable sources on the open Web

Guidelines for using free Web sources in research

Finding and Evaluating Websites

  • Make sure that your professor says that you can use websites as a cited source.  (If not, you can still use good Web sources such as Wikipedia to gather background and as "pointers" to lead you toward sanctioned sources.)
  • Use Google’s advanced search to limit to more reliable domains (e.g. .gov and .edu).  A guide to using this powerful free-Web tool is here.
  • Always look for contact and date information somewhere on the page (usually the bottom).  It won't always exist.
  • Visit Internet indexes (i.e., sites that review & link to other sites).  A few excellent ones include:

 The amount of information available on the WWW is staggering.  Unfortunately much of this information has not been reviewed for authority, accuracy, objectivity, currency, or completeness.  The burden of evaluation falls on you, the user.

Authority:

  • Is it clear who is responsible for the Web page?
  • Is it clear who wrote the material?  Are their credentials clearly stated?
  • If the material is copyrighted, is the name of the copyright holder given?

Accuracy:

  • Are the sources for any factual information clearly listed so that verification is possible?
  • Is the information clear of blatant grammatical, spelling and/or other typographical errors?
  • If there are graphs or charts are they clearly labeled?  Is source information given?

Objectivity:

  • What is the purpose of providing the information?  (Public service, profit, or persuasion)
  • Is the information free of advertising?
  • If there is advertising is it clearly differentiated from the informational content?

Currency:

  • Are there dates on the page indicating when it was written or last revised?
  • Are there indications that the material is kept current?

Coverage:

  • Is there an indication that the page has been completed and is not still under construction?

 

(These criteria are based on checklists in the book Web Wisdom: How to Evaluate and Create Information Quality on the Web by Jan Alexander and Marsha Ann Tate)

Subject Guide

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Dan Stafford
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Rohrbach Library 100A
(610) 683-4482