Evaluating Online Sources

Can’t lie on the internet (State Farm) Sept. 2012. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bufTna0WArc.

You may have seen the commercial above making a point about how you have to be careful of what you find on the internet. This is true in life and in your efforts to find quality sources for academic papers.

The internet is particularly challenging because anyone can really post anything they want on the internet. At the same time, there are some really quality sources out there, such as online journals.

The important thing is to use skepticism, use the guidelines you have read about in this section of Research & Citations, and be sure to ask your professor if general web sources are even allowed. Sometimes, in an effort to have students steer clear of inaccurate information, professors will forbid general web sources for a paper, but this is not always the case. If you are allowed to go to the web to locate sources, just remember to check for suitability, credibility, and timeliness using the guidelines presented in this area of the Online Writing Lab.

Using the Evaluation Checklist will also give you some good guidelines to remember, no matter where you found your source.

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