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US/VA Honors Project: Websites


Evaluating Websites


Evaluate websites before you use them:

  • Does this website have information that I need?

  • Who wrote the information on this website? Can I contact them?

  • How do I know this person is an expert on this subject?

  • When was the website last updated?  Is this information still up-to-date?

  • What is the purpose of this website?  Is it to provide information, or is it trying to entertain me or to sell me something?

  • Is this information objective?  Does it represent more than one opinion?

  • Who owns the website?

Wikipedia is NOT a reliable academic source!

Advanced Searching

Become a Power User with Boolean Operators
Boolean Operators save you time and get better search results. 

This helps you become a more efficient student, but also works when you're Googling or even in online shopping.

Google Search Tip

Google has no idea what your search words mean. It looks for web pages where those words appear. 

Know what you're looking for and use related words or synonyms to get better search results. 

Why? Read about how Google's search algorithm works here. 

Google Search

Google Web Search

Better Googling

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("climate change" OR "global warming") AND sea level

174,000 results

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How does climate change affect sea level?

3,150,000 results

Here's how to craft a better search to get fewer and more relevant results:

  • Identify the main ideas in your research question.
          How does climate change affect sea level?
  • Connect the main ideas with AND.
          climate change AND sea level
  • Use quotation marks around 2 or more words.
          "climate change" AND "sea level"
  • Use OR between synonyms/related terms.
          ("climate change" OR "global warming") AND sea level
  • Limit your search to a specific domain, such as .edu, .gov, or .org.
          ("climate change" OR "global warming") AND sea level

More information on advanced Google searching and Google Scholar.

Google Like a Pro