How do you tell when information you find on the internet is reliable? Advice is provided to help you evaluate web content and decide if it's suitable for your research and study purposes .
Before using information you find on the internet for assignments and research, it is important to judge its accuracy and to establish that the information comes from a reliable and appropriate source.
Consider the following criteria and ask yourself the following questions:
If the information is part of a journal or other online publication, you should try to establish the authority of that publication:
A good website will show when it was ‘last updated’ or give a clear indication of the timeliness of the information. Working links indicate the website is being maintained and updated regularly.
Look at the URL (web address) of the website. The domain name can help you establish if the information has been published by a credible source.
|.ac.uk||a UK university|
|.edu||an American university|
|.gov.uk or scotland.gov.uk||the UK or Scottish government|
|.nhs.uk or .scot.nhs.uk||the NHS or the NHS in Scotland|
You still need to apply the same criteria mentioned above to establish reliability, and don’t forget to check the information is up to date.
The Library provides access to a variety of reliable online resources. Key places to start your search for academic material online include:
Get Library Smart is an information skills blog written by the University's Academic Support Librarians. The blog includes information on how to use library resources, research a topic and how to cite and reference sources.