Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
University of Minnesota

Kathryn A. Martin Library

WRIT 3180: Honors Advanced Writing

Spring 2020

Evaluating Information

It can be difficult to know what is a quality source and what isn't. Here are a few things to look for when evaluating web resources:

  • Authority and accuracy: Who authored the information? What are their credentials?
  • Intended audience: Is the information directed to a particular group? (researchers, consumers, etc.)
  • Purpose of information: Is the information designed to educate? To market an idea or product?
  • Date created & updated: Is the web site well maintained and recently updated?
  • Contact information: Is it possible to contact the author or institution?

Why Use Library Resources?

It may be tempting to think....Isn't everything on the internet? Can't I just use Google and Wikipedia for my research?

While Google, Wikipedia, and other internet sources can be useful, you don't want to rely on them for your research. Why not?

  • Not everything is openly accessible on the internet. The UMD Library subscribes to and purchases high quality resources that are not available on the internet.
  • Information overload: using a search engine, like Google, often means that you get thousands or millions of results. Library databases are organized in such a way that the results are more manageable. This allows you to find the best resources for your topic quickly.
  • Authority & accuracy: keep in mind that anyone can create or edit an entry in Wikipedia. Anyone can create a website. How will you know if the author is an expert? How will you verify the information?
  • Your professors want to see high quality, scholarly sources cited in your papers. Impress them by using library resources!

Is it ever okay to use Google or Wikipedia?

  • If you need background information about a topic before you research it, looking in a place like Wikipedia can be helpful. You can also find background information and overviews of various topics by using online encyclopedias at the UMD Library.
  • Think of internet resources as a starting point, but NEVER a stopping point. Always go beyond Wikipedia!