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COM 10 - Dr. Cripe: Evaluating Web sources

Finding reliable websites on the Internet

Finding good Web Sites on the open internet:

  • Use Google’s advanced search to limit your results to more reliable domains (e.g. .gov and .edu). 
    • put in your keywords and then add this phrase to your search to find educational institution sites:    site:.edu 
    • put in your keywords and then add this phrase to your search to find organization sites:   site:.org
  • A guide to using this powerful free-Web tool is here.

All GOOGLE is not created equal

Google SCHOLAR is a subset of the larger Google search engine. It searches only for articles from mostly scholarly sources where the holder of the copyright has allowed internet access.

Google Scholar Search

Evaluation Criteria for Websites

Four Criteria to look for when evaluating open (no password needed) websites:

Remember the acronym CUBE 

 

Content:

  • Is it written like real research?  Are there typos?  How credible is a source if there are typographical errors?
  • Are the sources they use in a bibliography? if not, do the authors give enough information that you can prove their sources exist and their quotes are accurate?

Up-to-Date:

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

 Bias:

  • Is the information Unbiased?  Is it posted by a for-profit organization, a political action committee, a conservative or liberal "think tank"?
  • Is the information free of advertising? is the advertising clearly advertising, or is it part of the content?
  • Bias is not wrong, but a professional, credible, research website will be upfront about their position and let you know very clearly which side they are on.

Expertise:

  • Who sponsors this web page? 
  • Extensions like:  .edu  -- for educational institutions, or  .gov -- for government agencies tend to be more authoritative than .com for commercial sites or .org for non-profit organizations.
  • Experts are NOT by definition unbiased.  So you need to think critically and use this  in conjunction with the other criteria.