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Websites

One way to search wisely is to use a search engine that will help get rid of the “junk.” With Google Advanced Search, http://www.google.com/advanced_search you can narrow your search. Below you will see all the options you have before hitting “Search.”

Google Advanced Search

  • You can take all of the “Baltimore” teams out of your search for “Ravens Football”
  • You can search for an exact phrase, like “Ravenscroft School,” and you can narrow your hits to the most recently updated sites by using the date range filter.
  • Pay special attention to the “Domain” filtering. You can limit your sites to .edu or .org, weeding out the .com and .biz. College and university websites are especially informational and up to date, plus the author is not trying to sell you anything.
  • With domain filtering, you can search within the address of a huge site. To find the web page with the academic calendar at Ravenscroft, you would enter “academic calendar” in the top blue box and enter “ravenscroft.org” in the domain field, narrowing the search only to Ravenscroft’s website.
  • If you’re looking for images you can use in a PowerPoint, you can make sure the Usage Rights field says that images are free to share.

Web Search Engines
All have special features, but watch out for “sponsored”, or paid, links.

Edited web sources include news sites, republished articles, or any pages that have been read and approved for submission on the web. Books and periodicals have always been edited before publishing; this is one of the main differences between print and web.

Before you use a non-edited website as a source, make sure that you can’t find that information in print. A print source is often held as the more reliable source because it has been reviewed. You should be able to find print information to back up anything you find on the web. EasyBib and NoodleTools both have web evaluation components or you can use this Web Evaluation Checklist to analyze a source. The main components are authority, purpose, scope, accuracy, and presentation.

While you're on the website, collect the information for your citation, or plug it into your EasyBib or NoodleTools account.

Wikipedia
Wikipedia is an “open source” website. Anyone can update the information found here. The good news is that the entries are very current, but they can also be subjective or biased. For example, there have been biographical entries with misinformation that could be construed as slander (Rosenzweig 133).

Ask your instructor before using any Wikipedia encyclopedia entries. While Wikipedia might be a good starting point, most instructors would prefer you use our World Book or Grolier online databases as sources. These are edited encyclopedias that are frequently updated by experts and scholars.

Download this worksheet to assist you with Evaluating Web Resources

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