Evaluate the Sources You Find Online

It is critical that you know how to evaluate the information you find online.

Here are questions to ask about every source:

  • Who is the website author?
    • What are their credentials?
  • Is there a clear purpose/goal? Do you suspect bias?
  • What is the website domain?
    • .gov and .edu websites are more trustworthy
  • Is the information generated by the authors, or did they find the information somewhere else?
  • Do the authors cite where they got their information from?
    • Are you able to verify footnotes, bibliographies, or hyperlinks?
    • Is the cited information current?
  • Can the information be corroborated on other websites?
  • Are there advertisements that make you think the website content could have been influenced by the marketing companies?
  • Is the information presented current and relevant?

Harvard Guide to Evaluating Web Sources 

Internet searching and website evaluation (ppt, 2.65Mb)
Gateways, search engines & databases, Google vs. Scholar vs. PubMed, Boolean & advanced searching, evaluation of websites

Download workbook activities (doc, 254kb)

Download Appendix: Searching Databases Using Wild Cards, Truncation & Phrase Searching (doc, 58kb)

Interpreting a scholarly article

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