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3- Google & Evaluating Websites
In this level students will be shown how to best use Google, and how to determine if the websites Google returns are good quality.
Should I use Wikipedia for assignments?
Wikipedia is a popular information source. However, in the past there have been questions over its accuracy. Whilst Wikipedia has improved its quality control, most lecturers still do not like Wikipedia being used as a reference.
So it is suggested that students use Wikipedia to get an introduction to an unfamiliar topic if they wish, but students should use other more academically-preferred sources as references, such as books and journal articles.
For more authoritative resources, try the online Encyclopedia and Dictionary packages below.
Searching via Google
To search for online information using the extremely popular Google search engine, simply type the keywords, search terms or title that you are searching for in the Google search box via the Library homepage.
Select where you are searching:
- Google Scholar for scholarly articles such as journal articles,
- Google Books for books, or
- Google for everything (including good and poor quality information).
And then click search.
A Google Scholar note...
Google Scholar is a great way of searching for scholarly articles. It will return back free and subscription (pay for) articles.
Access Google Scholar via the black UNE University Library google search box to use the Library's subscription (you will then not need to pay for resources that UNE University Library already pays for!).
The Internet has numerous websites and resources on any topic you can think of. However, just because a webpage is on a topic of interest, does not mean you should use it!
When using Internet resources, carefully evaluate their quality using the criteria below:
- Accuracy- Is the information correct or are there mistakes?
- Authority- Who is the author and host? What is the domain (e.g. .org, .com, .edu, .gov, etc)? Domains using .edu (such as UNE webpages) and .gov are usually (but not always) reliable.
- Objectivity- Is there bias or advertising? Do they have a positive story on a product that they are selling? Every website has an objective- try to work out what the objective is.
- Coverage- What information is being covered? Is it of value?
- Currency- Is the webpage up-to-date?
Remember that anyone with internet access can publish good or bad information online for any reason. It's best to use more official websites, for example, ones that have the domain of edu or gov.
For more information, try the following resources:
- Evaluation Criteria (The Good, The Bad & The Ugly)
- Evaluating Websites (Wsuinst)
- Evaluating Web Pages Tutorial (Wolfgram Memorial Library).
The Library has more information on evaluating information generally at eSkills Evaluating information.