The Research Process: 2d. Find Websites

A getting started and step-by-step guide to the research process.


Remember to evaluate websites for reliability and accuracy before you use them.

Evaluating Information with the 5Ws

Here is a list of Common Questions you should ask when analyzing any source for research purposes.

Who: Check the Author, Publisher, and/or Sponsor

Who produced the information? What are the author’s credentials? Who maintains/owns the website? Does the webpage have an “About” tab or link?

What: Context of the Information

What is the format of the source? Is the source stylistically consistent (font, spacing, etc.)? Are there numerous sponsored advertisements?

When: Currency

When was the webpage last updated? Does the webpage, book, article have a publication or copyright date? Are the links in the webpage current or broken? Is the information current enough for your topic?

Where: Origin of the Information

Where does the information come from? Does the webpage cite or link to its sources? Are those sources from reliable or reputable authors or institutions? Does the book or article have a works cited page or bibliography? Is the information on the webpage verifiable in other sources?

Why: Purpose

Who is the intended audience? What is the purpose of the information? Does the information rely upon facts or opinions? Can you determine a possible bias?

*Based on Tips for Evaluating Information by Kayla Hennis and Penelope Adams Moon.

How Do Search Engines Work?

Essential Google Search Tricks for Research

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