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ENGL 2121 - British Literature I: Smart Web

Web Searching

.edu = educational institutions. Level of expertise is uneven ranging from the latest paper of a PhD  to a book report by a 9th grader. Look for those realted to universities.

.org = organizations. Often socieites dedicated to a particular author or type of literature will use this domain

Google Scholar will limit your search to books and .edu sites, but still have lots of hits. Use search shortcuts for more precise results. LImit by date after you search.


Trusted Websites

Some websites have already been checked out by librarians and other professionals. 

The CRAAP Test

If your instructor allows you to use Internet sources for your research, be sure to evaluate them carefully.

Using the Internet for academic purposes is far different than seeking entertainment or commercial websites.  For a site to be acceptable on assignments, be sure it passes the CRAAP tests.

Currency (The timeliness of the information)

  • When was the information published or posted?
  • Has the information been revised or updated?
  • Does your topic require current information, or will older sources work as well?
  • Are the links functional?

Relevance (The importance of the information for your need)

  • Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Is the information at an appropriate level (i.e. not too elementary or advanced for your needs)?
  • Have you looked at a variety of sources before determining this is one you will use?
  • Would you be comfortable citing this source in your research paper?

Authority (The author or source of the information)

  • What are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations?
  • Is the author qualified to write on the topic?
  • Is there contact information, such as a publisher or email address?
  • Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source? (examples: .com .edu .gov .org .net)

Accuracy (The reliability, truth and correctness of the information)

  • Where does the information come from?
  • Is the information supported by evidence?
  • Has the information been reviewed or refereed?
  • Can you verify any of the information in another source or from personal knowledge?
  • Does the language or tone seem unbiased and free of emotion?
  • Are there spelling, grammar or typographical errors?

Purpose (The reason the information exists)

  • What is the purpose of the information? Is it to inform, teach, sell, entertain or persuade?
  • Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?
  • Is the information fact, opinion or propaganda?
  • Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?
  • Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional or personal biases?

Adapted from material from Merriam Library, California State University, Chico

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    Citations from Websites

    When making MLA citations from websites, it's important to retrieve all the important components of a citation (author, title, publisher, date, etc.).  That can be very hard work, since some webpages don't have many clues to that info. 

    Occasionally, you will find a reprint of a scholarly article on the web, but the publisher wants to charge you access.  It may be that GPC has already paid for a way to get that article through GALILEO.  If you find yourself in that situation, contact a librarian who will help you track down the original article.