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Research Skills: A Blog Series from your ELI Library staff

Evaluating Websites

search1A couple of weeks ago, we talked about using Google for your research. Of course, NOVA Libraries has access to thousands of newspaper, magazine, and journal articles through the library databases. But that doesn’t mean that there’s not good and useful information out on the web as well.  You just need to be critical.

 So how can you decide if a website has good information that would be appropriate to use in your assignments? You’ve heard of the 5 W’s, right? Well, they can also be applied to evaluating information, on the web and elsewhere. 

 WHO – Who wrote or published the information? Is it someone you have heard of? Is it an organization that you are familiar with?

 WHAT – What are the author’s credentials? Are they clear about their experience in the subject and how they relates to the topic they are writing on?

WHEN – When was the information published? Is it the type of information that changes over time (Think: Medical Information)? Or is it the type of information that stays the same (Think: History)?

WHERE – Where did the author get their information? Are they properly citing their sources? Are they clear on where their facts, statistics, graphs, etc. are coming from?

 WHY – Why are they publishing this information? What is the author’s motivation? Are they showing a bias?

Take a look at the NOVA Libraries’ 5 W’s to Determine Good Information for more tips! And as always, if you’re not sure about a website, ask us! ELI-Library@nvcc.edu

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