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Searching the web
Everyone knows what a great search tool google is and how wikipedia can get you a brief overview of nearly any topic, but how can you find quality information on the web?
Try alternate search engines in addition to google. You may be surprised to find that ask.com and yahoo have varying results!
Remember that most teachers will not allow you to cite wikipedia as a source. Use it as a tool to find more about your topic and to brainstorm keywords, but then go to Proquest or other article databases to get great results and save time.
For more search tools, check out this site from UCBerkeley.
There are a few very important questions to ask to evaluate the quality, accuracy, and usefulness of a website.
- Who is the author? Is it a person or an organization? What is their motivation for creating the site? For example, if they are selling something, the information may not be the most reliable.
- Who is the intended audience?
- When was the page created or last updated? There are many sites online that are out-of-date or abandoned.
- Are the links on the page active or broken? A page full of broken links shows that it has out of date information or poor information.
- What is the domain? Is it a .com, .org, .net, .gov, or .edu? Be careful, .com stands for commercial, so be sure you understand the motivation of the page creator. A .edu may be the sign of a reliable site, just make sure you aren't duped by a student's site with poor information!
- If you are unsure about a site, ask the librarian for assistance.
For more information, check out this site
from UC Berkeley.