.com – Commercial websites
.edu – Educational websites
.gov – Government websites
.org – Organization website
Are you considering using a website for a research assignment?
Not all websites are appropriate for academic research and you need to examine them carefully in order to determine if the information is accurate, credible, and supports your research assignment.
Websites can be created by anyone and facts, images, and videos can be easily altered. Websites have to be carefully evaluated for use in your research assignments. Also be sure to ask your instructor if they will accept a website as a source for your research assignment.
There are countless websites available on various topics, but how do you determine what websites are the best to use? There are four main questions you want to ask yourself when critically examining a website in order to determine if it is appropriate for your research assignment:
WHO created the website?
WHAT type of website is it and what is the website's domain?
WHEN was the information on the website last updated?
WHY was the website created?
Quick Tip: If you are searching Google for a website with a specific domain, such as a .gov or .edu, when you type in your search add "site:" and the domain type at the end of your search term. For example, if you wanted to find government websites on gun control, type in "gun control site:.gov". Or if you wanted to specifically search for non-profit websites that had information on wildlife, type in "wildlife site:.org".