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Maple Woods - Comm 100 (Bridges)

Website Search Tips

  • In Google, searching will retrieve only .edu sites. Watch out for sites with tildas (~) as these represent personal sites that may belong to a student. This also works for other domains. 
  • If an online article links to a study or another site where it got its information, click those links and use the original source instead.
  • Wikipedia is not an appropriate final source, but clicking on the sources in the References section can get you some useful results.
  • When checking for currency, look for a copyright date/date of last update for the page. Just because the site as a whole was updated recently doesn't mean the page was.
  • Before going through the evaluation below, run a quick search on the author or site to make sure they're not notoriously unreliable. Fact-checkers like Snopes and Fact Check can save you a lot of time.

Evaluating Websites

Who is the author?  Are qualifications or credentials listed?  Is contact information provided?

Check the date for currency.  Is this important for your topic? Is the information still up-to-date? Are links on the site still working?

Is the information accurate?  (Compare to other sources.)  Are sources cited?

What is the purpose of the site:  To inform? To sell a product or service? To persuade? To entertain?

Is the information biased?  Does it present different points of view?

What is the level of language:  Easy enough for a child? Generally understood by an adult? Scholarly? Technical?

Check the domain:  .edu – college or university, .org – organization, .gov – government agency or department, .com – business

.edu and .gov sites are regarded as consistently authoritative

.org sites are often authoritative (but be aware of bias)