Research Guide: Evaluating Sources

Use this guide to learn more about how to evaluate your sources

Your criteria checklist

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Evaluation Criteria Checklist

Click below to download your own copy of the checklist

Proceed with Caution

Evaluate with care!

  • Anyone can publish a website - protect yourself as an internet information consumer by determining if the site is trustworthy
  • Put on your detective hat and be Sherlock Holmes. You may have to do a little detective work and poke around for clues to assess the quality of a website

Video: Using the C.R.A.P. Test to Evaluate Websites

Source: "Using the C.R.A.P. Test to Evaluate Websites" by Portland State University Library, is licensed under a Standard YouTube License.

This video explains the C.R.A.P. test and then uses it to evaluate three websites on the topic of performance enhancing drugs in sports.

Find Reliable Websites by Limiting the Domain

Limit to specific domains in when searching Google

Limiting the domain of the websites you're searching in Google is one of the quickest ways to narrow your results and find more credible resources quickly! URL domains can be clues to a site's reliability and ownership.

Common URL domains:
  • .com = commercial (ads & pop-ups)
  • .gov = U.S. government (official agencies)
  • .mil = U.S. military
  • .edu = educational (colleges & universities)
  • .org = organization (could be non-profit or for-profit, can be informative but often biased)
  • .net = network (could be almost anything, including personal websites)
  • .info = information (generic domain, no criteria needed for companies or individuals to use)
  • .biz = business (an alternative to .com)
You can also limit your searches, like through a Google search, by using the "site:" search shortcut. 
"Site searching" examples:

sample site search limiting the domain to educational websites

  • politics in art site:edu (would find educational resources on this topic)
  • politics in art site:gov (would find U.S. government resources on this topic)
  • Note that there are NO spaces before or after the colon after the word "site"