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EGL 102 - Janet Nogowski - Fall 2021

This guide is to support students in EGL 102-C11 and EGL 102-OC8 in their work on Paper #3.

Be a Cautious User of the Internet

The Internet has a lot of great information, but it also hosts untrue or biased information. Make sure your sources are credible. 

Who is responsible for the information?

  • What do you know about the author?
  • Is the author trustworthy?
  • Does the have credentials or experience to speak on this topic?

Is the information biased?

  • Does the author or the organization represent a particular point of view?

What is the purpose of the information?

  • Is it intended to educate?
  • Is it intended to persuade?
  • Who is the intended audience?

Is the information up to date?

  • When was the information published?
  • Is the topic likely to change as new discoveries are made?
  • Have responses or rebuttals been published?

Is the information well documented?

  • Does the author provide a way for you verify their claims?
  • Does the author give credit for ideas that are not their own?
  • Is the author affiliated with the authors they cite?
  • Does the author cherry-pick facts to support their ideas or do they provide a full context?

Is the information relevant?

  • Is the scope of coverage appropriate?
  • Does the author address the actual issue you are exploring or is it only tangentially related?

Click here to read a good overview of evaluating online information sources from the Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University .

Selected Websites for Research

You can also look for professional organizations related to your topic.

Video: Research Bites: How to Search Better with Google (2:19)

" Why can't I just use Wikipedia??? "

Wikipedia is a helpful site, but it isn't a reliable source for academic research. Wikipedia, and other websites that allow collaborative editing, may or may not have credible information--it isn't always easy to tell whether its credible or not. The editors may be wrong, they may not have the most up-to-date information, or they might even be vandalizing an article.

Where Wikipedia might be useful is at the bottom of the page. Sometimes you can find links there to primary documents and other sources.


Just for fun, here are some examples of Wikipedia vandalism. Don't let this distract you for too long.