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Political Science: Websites

Direct comments to khoskins@nvcc.edu

How to Evaluate Websites - Quick Tips

 

Evaluate websites that have information you would like to use in your assignments. 

Look on each website for an "About Us" page to answer some of the following questions:

  • Who is the author?        
  • What are his/her qualifications?
  • Why was the website created?
  • When was it last updated?
  • How reliable is the information?

Apply the CRAAP Test!

(Currency, Relevancy, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose)

Better Googling

Google logo with checkmark

("Republican Party" OR GOP) AND "minority voters" site:.org

19,200 results

Google logo with X mark

How can the republican party attract more minority voters?

451,000 results

Here's how to craft a better search to get fewer and more relevant results:

  • Identify the main ideas in your research question.
          How can the Republican Party attract more minority voters?

  • Connect the main ideas with AND.
          Republican Party AND minority voters

  • Use quotation marks around 2 or more words.
          "Republican Party" AND "minority voters"

  • Use OR between synonyms/related terms.
          ("Republican Party" OR GOP) AND "minority voters"

  • Limit your search to a specific domain, such as .edu, .gov, or .org.
          ("Republican Party" OR GOP) AND "minority voters" site:.org

More information on advanced Google searching and Google Scholar.

Wikipedia and Academic Research

    

How Wikipedia CAN be useful in the beginning stages of research:

Check mark A basic overview of your topic.
Check mark Important names and vocabulary related to your topic.
Check mark Table of contents for some entries, helping you to understand how your topic can be organized.
Check mark

References and other websites that may be helpful (though you will need to evaluate them to be sure).

Why NOT to use Wikipedia for academic research:

X Anyone can contribute to a Wikipedia article.
X No information about authors' credentials and purpose.