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Evaluating Internet Sources: Home

This guide will help you determine the value of information you gather searching the internet (www), and offer suggestions for successful research gathering


The Internet is a wonderful source of information, much of which we would likely never be exposed to within our everyday lives. There is an infinite amount of reliable, scholarly and accurate material available, as it grows in volume daily. In addition to this helpful information however, there is an abundance of innacurate, biased and downright wrong material which pops up on your computer screen. Remember, anyone can post anything on the internet, and it is up to you, as the reader, to evaluate the validity of material presented.

Search Engine Results

One thing to keep in mind when you search the internet by using a search engine, is that these are commercial ventures. You will notice various advertisements and popups along with search results. The order in which the results are listed on your screen can be determined by selling the spot to the highest bid advertisers (Sponsor Results), the "page rank" which the search engine assigns, or how often the information is updated. Unlike databases available through the library, or pre-evaluated indexes to websites, much of the information that presents itself on your first screen of results is not evaluated for accuracy or reviewed by experts in the field of study. Its placement on the results list is up to the discretion of the search engine administrator.

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