College research requires sources that are informative, trustworthy, and factual.
Websites seem like easy and convenient sources of information, however websites do not go through any quality control process – anyone can publish on the Internet.
It is the student’s responsibility to determine if a website is a credible and appropriate source for college research.
Examine the website and ask yourself questions from the four categories below. These questions address important qualities that are necessary for a solid source.
Can you identify the author of the website? What can you determine about their qualifications for this topic? (education, work history, affiliations, additional publications)
When was the website written or updated? Is it current information for your topic?
Who runs this website? Was it published by a business, a university, a government organization, or an association? What can you tell about the purpose of the website?
Are statements and statistics supported by sources? Are the sources cited? Is the information presented in a balanced way? Is it written to inform, persuade, or sell something?
You are looking for informative, non-biased sources written by qualified researchers or reporters.
If you have questions, ask your Instructor or a Reference Librarian.