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Google and Google Scholar: Evaluating information

What type of website is it?

Always check the URL of a website to determine what type of site the information is coming from:

.edu : an educational institution

.ac : an academic site

.gov : a government body

.org : an organisation

.com or .co : a commercial site

.net : a network

Word of advice

Always look at every piece of information with a critical eye, do not passively absorb what you read.

Why can't I just Google?

Information is everywhere! But can we use Google for everything? Watch this video to find out more. Video provided courtesy of LaTrobe University Library

Google it!

But take care! Not all the of the information you find on the Internet is accurate, up-to-date and reliable.

It is important to evaluate your information before you decide to use it in your assignment.

Ask yourself:

  • How relevant and accurate is it?
  • Are sources cited and references provided?
  • What is the purpose of the site? To provide information, promote ideas, sell a product?
  • Is it current and up-to-date?
  • Is it published by a reputable author or organisation?

Learn more by completing our interactive tutorial Evaluating your resources.

What is a URL?

URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator and is the address of a web page.

Wikipedia and crowdsourcing

Search a keyword in Google and it is very likely that a Wikipedia entry appears in the results list. Can we trust Wikipedia?

Wikipedia relies on the practice of crowdsourcing to provide its content, which means that its articles are a collaborative contribution from all Internet users. Anyone can add, modify or delete content.

Advantages of Wikipedia

Disadvantages of Wikipedia

Wikipedia is very useful to provide general information on a subject, but it should not be used as the sole source for finding material or as a replacement for scholarly literature.

Free online collections

Sometimes, instead of googling, it may be worth searching a specific source directly.

Try these free online collections to access books, images, recordings, videos and more.