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 Academic Liaison Librarian has identified some key web sites. These are listed in the useful websites guides for each subject:
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.
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|
You can find many different types of information on the Internet. Check that the item you are referencing isn't a journal article, book chapter, or another type of publication which you should be citing in a different way.
Elements to include:
Webpage created by a person
Reference list: Bologna, C. (2018) What happens to your mind and body when you feel homesick? Available at: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/what-happens-mindbody-homesick_us_5b201ebde4b09d7a3d77eee1 (Accessed: 24 June 2021)
In-text citation: (Bologna, 2018)
Webpage created by an organisation
Reference list: World Health Organization (2020) Salt reduction. Available at: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/salt-reduction (Accessed: 24 June 2021)
In-text citation: (World Health Organization, 2020)
Have a look at this Study Advice video tutorial (note that the format of the examples may not match the guidance given above):