We can usually find a great deal of information on a topic in the free internet, but how do we know if the sites we find are credible? Credible sites have an expert author, clearly defined purpose, strong evidence, objectivity, and a bibliography.
Here is one list of questions you can ask yourself as you analyze web sites:
Does the site have a scholarly apparatus: a bibliography and endnotes?
Is there a clear author? What are the author's credentials, biases, and perspectives?
Who is the publisher? A university or historical society? A company?
Is the thesis built on a foundation of primary source material?
What are the strengths and weaknesses of the site?
How does the site help me understand my topic?
What questions are left unanswered by the author?
For more help on determining if a site is credible or not, please use this Checklist.
Tips on Finding Credible Sites:
>One clue that can help you decide if a site is credible is the domain name. In general, sites that end with "edu" (educational sites), "gov" (government sites), or "org" (nonprofit organizations) offer more credible information than sites that end with "com" (commerical sites trying to sell something).
>Here are some special search engines that limit your searches to credible sites:
IPL2—works like Yahoo, but finds mostly quality sites discovered by librarians.
>Google your topic along with the keyword "library guide" or "libguide". This will lead you to library web sites about your topic, and librarians generally list only high-quality sites on their pages!
Searching with the term site:edu will limit your Google search to educational web sites:
This search finds college or university web sites (web sites that have .edu in their web addresses) about the history of Industrial Revolution in England.
Educational web sites are usually more credible sources than commercial (.com) web sites.