Evaluating Web Sources

Not all web resources are bad!

Always ask your instructor for specific requirements for an assignment if you’re unsure. Typically, the information you’re citing simply needs to be credible.

Start your search with a search engine, like: Google, Yahoo, or Bing. For a variety of sources, try different search engines, and different search terms!

Website extensions can be helpful at a glance. For example, some of the most common:

  • .gov is a government site
    • trust it
  • .edu is a higher education site
    • make sure it’s a professor’s site, not a student’s… if so – trust it
  • .com is for business sites
  • .org is for nonprofit sites

Did you know you can limit your Google search for only look for a specific type of site? Simply open a set of parentheses and type in the extension you’re looking for: (.edu)… Or to look for more than one type (.edu OR .gov)

To assess a website’s credibility, use the CRAAP Test to look for:

  • currency
  • relevance
  • authority
  • accuracy
  • purpose

In college level, academic papers, we never, ever cite Wikipedia, because it is community generated content that anyone can edit (including my 13 year old nephew who does so for fun). If you are truly stuck in your search, use Wikipedia as a spring board, by linking out to that article’s sources.

And remember, create a bibliographic entry for your source now, so you can find it again later!