The URL for a website can tell you a lot about the purpose of a webpage.
.com = commercial site
.net =network provider
.edu =education - school or university
.mil = military website
.gov = government website
.com, .net, and .org sites are less regulated, meaning anyone can register for a website with that domain. .edu, .mil, and .gov sites are MORE REGULATED, and tend to be more reliable.
Get some practice at evaluating websites using the criteria in the left-side column. Which is these sites do you think would be useful for academic research?
When searching for information on the "free web", you need to be critical. Here are a few reasons:
Click on the "Evaluating Websites" tab for strategies to help you evaluate websites.
When evaluating websites or any other information sources, use the following CRAAP test to help evaluate the information you find. This checklist applies to any resource you may use for a school assignment, but keep in mind that some items are specific to websites.
Currency: The timeliness of the information.
Relevance: The importance of the information for your needs.
Authority: The source of the information.
Accuracy: The reliability, truthfulness and correctness of the content.
Purpose: The reason the information exists.
The CRAAP test is provided by the Meriam Library California State University, Chico.
Your instructor may ask your to use only scholarly resources for your paper. What's the difference between a scholarly or non-scholarly resource?
Scholarly (peer-reviewed) sources include encyclopedias, books, and articles published in scholarly journals. These sources are reviewed by a panel of experts in that particular field, and are often published by a professional association or a university press. These experts ensure the information published is credible before accepting it for publication.
Non-Scholarly sources include websites, magazines, newspapers, and books that undergo no expert review prior to publishing.
Check with your instructor if you plan to use non-scholarly sources and use the CRAAP test to evaluate them.
Wikipedia is a free, online encyclopedia that contains articles about nearly any topic. It may be tempting to use it as a resource for an assignment, but keep in mind that most instructors WILL NOT accept wikipedia as an acceptable source. Why? Wikipedia entries can be edited by anyone that has access to a computer and creates a wikipedia account. This often compromises the quality of information that may appear in Wikipedia entries. The last thing you want to do is to use false information in your assignments.
So what do you do? Use Wikipedia as a starting point for your research, but, if you want to use information from it, try to verify it in another reputable source instead.
See the video below for more about Wikipedia: