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Evaluating Websites

Understanding Internet Searches & Websites

Consider the following:

  • Anyone can build a website, experts and non-experts alike.
  • Some information may be outdated or even hazardous to the reader.
  • Web searches often retrieve more than 1,000,000 results, many of which are irrelevant to your research.
  • Website publishers may be biased and have an agenda, or may be trying to sell you something.
  • Since no one supervises the Internet, there's a lack of basic quality and usability standards.
  • Website information is not reviewed the same way as published works (books, scholarly articles, encyclopedias).
  • The Internet often functions as a place for people to share their unfiltered opinions. 
  • Scholarly sources are rarely available for free. The library subscribes to research databases that provide access to high-quality research at no cost to you.

Google Search Tip


You can limit your search results in Google to pages from a specific domain by adding site:.(domain name) to the end of your search. 

Example: diabetes and exercise would find information on exercise on diabetes published only by government agencies. 

Domain Names

The domain of a website can tell you a lot about the purpose of the site. 

.com = commercial site

.net =network provider

.org =organization

.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.