Skip to main content

Texas Academy of Biomedical Sciences (TR) Research Overview: Advanced Google Searching

Evaluate Online Sources


 Why do I need to evaluate?

  • You need to be critical of the information you find.
  • Not all information you find is timely, reliable, authoritative or objective.
  • Even if you got the information from the library, it may not be relevant to your research.

Critical Thinking

Whether you search the web or the databases, be critical and discerning in your searches and in your use of whatever you might find.  Think about:

Purpose/Point of View

  • Is this fact or opinion?
  • Is it biased?
  • Are they trying to sell you something?

 

Authority

  • Who are the authors or creators?
  • What are their credentials?
  • Who is the publisher or sponsor?
  • Are they reputable?
  • What is the publisher’s interest?
  • Does the site have advertisements?

 

Accuracy

  • Is this source correct?
  • How do you know?
  • Can you double-check it somewhere else?

 

Reliability

  • What kind of information is included in the resource?
  • Is content of the resource primarily opinion?
  • Does the creator provide references?

 

Currency

  • How recent is the information?
  • Is it current enough for your topic?
  • When was the site last updated?

 

Scope

  • How much information about the topic are you really getting?
  • Is there something "conspicuously absent" from the page/article?

 

Smart Web Searches

Advanced Web Searching

Most search engines offer "advanced" search features.  (Google's link for "advanced" is just to the right of the main search box on the Google homepage.)  Advanced features let you control your results with domain (site "type") limiters, language preferences, and other options.

If you're going to use the open Web, use it wisely.  Control your results, and don't just settle for what's at the top of the list.

 

See these two Google searches, and compare:

 

Search 1

Search 2