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Evaluating Websites

Sorting Through Websites Based on Domain

The web contains a wealth of information published by government departments, educational institutions, non-profit organizations, commercial enterprises and private individuals all over the world. Since there are no standards for information quality on the web, not everything you find will be accurate or appropriate to use as research. Generally speaking, you can locate reliable information on authoritative websites, such as:

Government agency and department websites - URL addresses are identified by the .gov domain suffix:

College and university websites - URL addresses are identified by the .edu domain suffix:

  • Example: Harvard University
  • Excludes student or faculty pages hosted by the educational institution.  

Professional society and non-profit organization websites - URL addresses are identified by the .org domain suffix:

Beware, not all .org sites are unbiased. There are organizations with websites in this category that exist to promote a specific point of view, for example, Planned ParenthoodNational Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or the National Rifle Association.

Commercial or for-profit company websites - URL addresses are identified by the .com domain suffix:

If it is not obvious the information comes from an authoritative group, look for links such as About UsWho We Are or Our Mission to evaluate the source.

Medline Plus: Evaluating Health Information

Professional Nursing Websites:

These are a few links we've found that may be useful:

Google Scholar

Google Scholar Search