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Claremont Lincoln University
LibGuides

Finding and Evaluating Resources: Websites

Evaluating Websites

The Internet is an essential part of everyday life in our age of information.  There is just so much knowledge at our fingertips these days!  While sites like Google, Twitter, and Wikipedia make information incredibly easy to find, it's important to remember that any information found on the web should be treated like any other source of information and should be evaluated critically before using, as not all information on the web can be reliable or trustworthy.

One important factor to remember when looking for information on the web, or anywhere, really, is where that information came from.  Looking at a websites URL can tell you a lot about the information contained within it.

  • .com -- usually a commercial or business website.  These sites usually feature lots of ads or sponsors, as their primary concern is to make money.
  • .edu -- an educational institute.  The information contained on sites with this domain is usually unbiased and objective, as they are heavily regulated.
  • .gov -- a government agency.  Similar to a .edu website, the information on a .gov site can be considered unbiased and objective, as they are also heavily regulated.
  • .org -- an organizations website.  While an organization can be for-profit or non-profit, they still have an agenda to push or could still be motivated by profit.

Google Scholar Pros and Cons

Google Scholar Pros v Cons

Pros

  • Easy to refine search terms
  • Can be a good way to do a basic literature review on a topic

Cons

  • Not all articles are free.  May have to pay to access some
  • May not be able to find everything for a topic, as copyright restrictions exclude many academic papers

Wikipedia

Pros

  • Can serve as a good introduction on a topic
  • Presented in an easy to read and understand manner

Cons

  • Anyone can edit an entry so reliability is an issue
  • Instructors may not permit Wikipedia as a source
  • Research is not original and, in many cases, sources are not cited

Credible Websites