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Using Sources: Evaluating Sources and Avoiding Plagiarism

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How to Evaluate Websites - Quick Tips

Sometimes, it is useful to supplement your research with information from a website.  Government statistics can be especially useful.  Evaluation becomes much trickier on the open web, however, because anyone can publish there. 

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?

To learn how to evaluate each question, see our guide How to...Evaluate Websites.

Website Evaluation

From VCU Libraries

Find Good Websites

You can search Google for information and limit results from a specific type of website, such as .gov or .edu domains.  If you want to search for information about the Affordable Care Act on government websites, you could search:

Google Searchbox with .gov search

Be sure to include the period [.] before the domain suffix [.gov or .edu or .org].  There are no spaces in

Government and educational websites are more reliable than most .com or .org sites.  Government websites are authoritative sources of information on every topic imaginable - employment, suicide rates, agriculture, immigration, crime and more.  They are especially good for statistics.