Encyclopedias are a good place to start for background and general information.
Be sure to choose High School for your reading level.
If you Google. . . .
Google can be an excellent search engine, but be aware that you will get a lot of websites that are NOT useful. Always evaluate your sources!
- Look at the url. .gov, .edu, .org, .com all mean different things.
- (On the other hand, .edu does not necessarily mean it's a good source. Could be another student project.)
- Authority - Who is the author of the information? Is he/she an expert in the field?
- Look for an About Us section for more information.
- Google the author/organization to crosscheck your source.
- Currency - When was the information published or last updated?
- Look at the bottom of the page for dates.
- Bias - Why was this information written? Was it written to inform, persuade, entertain, sell? What is the author's purpose?
The process of evaluating a website can be confusing and difficult, which is why teachers and librarians recommend using a database to search for newspapers and magazines. Those have all gone through a process to get published, including being read by editors and others.
Magazine, Newspaper, Journal Articles
Alternatives to Google.
Finding good keywords helps your search go faster and more efficiently. Add to your list of keywords as you find new ones in your searches or good articles/websites.
Less is more.
Tone matters (ex. "tummy ache" versus "stomach pains"). Use expert terms.
Put exact phrases in quotation marks (ex. "type II diabetes").
When you find a good source, use it to add to your keyword list AND look at the source's bibliography/works cited for the author's sources. Use those!