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COMM 100 - Bridges - Maple Woods

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 checking websites such as Snopes and can save you a lot of time.

Evaluating Websites

Websites can provide some of the most current information about a topic. However, websites must be evaluated more thoroughly than peer-reviewed articles. There is no review process on the open web, so you are much more likely to run into misinformation. Ask yourself the following questions to help evaluate a web source:

  • Who is the author?  Are qualifications or credentials listed?  Is contact information provided? You can find additional information about the author with a quick web search.
  • When was the information posted? Is the information still up-to-date? Does the site contain a lot of broken links?
  • 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 obviously 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?