The following is a quick guide on analyzing and evaluating the websites you use in your studies.
Follow these tips to help ensure that you use relevant, good quality and up-to-date online resources.
Before believing the information given on a web site, or quoting it in your essay or project, think about the following:
To help guide you through the mass of information on the Internet your liaison librarian has identified some key web sites. These are listed in the useful websites guides.
You can quickly evaluate the authority of a website by looking at the URL of a website. This can help you find out who or what has created the website, and possibly their intent. The main part that you want is what is called the top level domain name, which is normally the last segment of a domain name which appears after the dot.
For example: www.reading.ac.uk
The top level domain name is highlighted in bold.
Below are some common examples of domain names which you may come across. Note that even if the website comes from an official organisation, you will still need to verify the information provided.
|Domain Name||Published By|
|.ac.uk||a UK university|
|.gov.uk||the UK government|
|.com or .co.uk||
a commercial organisation.These websites may intend to sell you products rather than provide unbiased information.
|.org||mainly used by non-profit organisations|
|.edu||an American university|
If you are looking for information on a topic for an essay, project or seminar use the databases for your subject. These are guaranteed to give you good references to reliable, published information - some may even give you full-text articles.