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Research Help: Evaluating Sources

Evaluating Sources

Information about almost any subject is easy to find; however, not all information is good information. An essential part of academic research and writing is learning how to critically analyze and evaluate sources to eliminate old, incorrect, or irrelevant information.

Tips for Evaluating Websites

For a great introduction geared specifically towards the evaluation of websites, check out this video produced by the librarians at the Community College of Vermont's Hartness Library!

Website Domains

Not all websites are created equal. Knowing the general purpose of the website can help you to determine the purpose and/or bias of the site.

.COM - commercial

  • .com originally identified for-profit company websites
  • These pages can be sponsored by individuals or non-profit organizations
  • .com sites are often sources of reliable information, but not necessarily

.EDU - education

  • Most official .edu pages would be considered reliable sources 
  • A tilde (~) in the URL usually indicates a student or faculty member's personal webpage 

.GOV - government

  • Includes U.S. state, federal, and military information
  • Domain names reflect the organization names in the Federal Government & non- Federal government entities in the United States; Used to promote government services.

.ORG - organizations

  • Are not necessarily a non-profit organization
  • Often contain excellent information, but many are created in support of a specific position or agenda.

.NET - network

  • Generic and miscellanous sites
  • Often used when .com is not available


Using the following criteria to evaluate the sources you're considering will help you filter out less reliable sources and select quality sources.

To access a printable PDF version of this information click here.

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