For easy tips on how to evaluate if a website is good, or not, use the S.P.I.D.E.R method.
- Why is the author hosting the website?
- Is the purpose to promote a cause or share scholarly materials?
- Does the purpose make the information biased?
- Is the information current?
- Is the organizational source of the website commercial (.com), military (.mil), education (.edu), organization (.org), or some other domain?
- Can the same information be found on other websites or in other materials?
The above information and links are taken from Dr. Tom Johnson, Hockaday School.
Searching in Google
Google, and other search engines, are powerful tools, but there are many ways you can harness better results. When starting your background research, it is important not to use superfulous terms, or write in sentances, in your search. Google considers each of these words in the result, so being too specific can be bad.
women ("right to vote" OR suffrage OR ninteenth amendment) site:.edu
How did women win the right to vote?
Use BOOLEAN Operators and parenthesis to link thoughts
Google recognizes () to link phrases and uses AND, OR, and NOT. Be careful how you use them, and think of your seach as a VENN DIAGRAM.
Image Credit: University of Ohio Libraries
We all know that most likely, your FIRST result will be a wikipedia page. To prevent this, LIMIT your search results to .edu pages. To do this, add the phrase "site:.edu"
Follow the example in the middle column here to see how that would look. This will give you results only from colleges and universities. Please note, it is still important to critically evaluate a website.