Google Scholar allows you to broadly search the web for scholarly literature across many disciplines and sources. When searching in Google Scholar, you can change your settings to reflect your search preferences. For example, under Library Links, you can set Google Scholar to find full-text articles we have at SLU. If you are asked to pay for an article from Google Scholar, instead search the library databases to get it for free.
Commercial Sites [.com or .net]
The sites provided by commercial interests are generally going to be biased toward the product or information they promote. While this information might not necessarily be false, you might be getting only part of the picture because there maybe an ulterior motive to the site, such as public relations or making money.
Education Institutions [.edu]
Sites using this domain name are associated with schools, college or universities. Information from sites within this domain should examined very carefully. If it is from a department or research center at an educational institution, it can generally be taken as credible. However, students' and faculty members’ personal Web sites are not usually monitored by the school even though they may use this domain.
Government or US Military [.gov or .mil]
All branches of the United States federal government and military use these domains. Information such as Census statistics, Congressional hearings, and Supreme Court rulings would be included in sites with this domain. The information is considered to be from a credible source.
Sometimes, but not necessarily, a non-profit organization [.org]
Traditionally, non-profit organizations use the .org domain, but any organization can create a .org site. Examples of .org sites include PBS.org (public broadcasting system) and NPR.org (national public radio). Generally, the information in these types of sites is credible and unbiased, but there are examples of organizations that strongly advocate specific points of view over others. You probably want to give this domain a closer scrutiny. Some commercial interests might be the ultimate sponsors of a site with this suffix.
There are two major steps when evaluating a resource. Look for the who, where, when, what, and why of the work.
1. Who, Where, When
2. What, Why
The Wikipedia Foundation recently announced that it is implementing a new editing policy to provide greater oversight of certain articles. This change is expected to improve Wikipedia's accuracy and credibility. That said, the information in the resources listed below still holds.
Wikipedia: Beneath the Surface (video, NC State Libraries)
How to Evaluate a Wikipedia Article (University Library; UC-Davis)
7 Things You Should Know About Wikipedia (EDUCAUSE)
Below is a video (5 minutes) from Portland State University on using the CRAP test to evaluate websites.
What is the CRAP test?
Currency -- is the website / information current?
Reliability -- is the website presenting information that is reliable (i.e.: do they cite their sources)?
Authority -- who is the author of the site or information being presented?
Purpose -- what is the purpose of the site? To inform? To sell or advertise?