Hege Library & Learning Technologies

PPS 210: PPS Scholars, Practices and Narratives


Wikipedia can be very useful for giving an introduction to or an overview of a topic, helping to develop keywords for use in your research using library databases, and can even point you towards other sources (check the references listed at the bottom of the article) but many scholars don't consider Wikipedia a credible source for their own or their students' research. The following video explains why:

Evaluating Web Sources

Consider the following when evaluating information from the Web as a possible source for your research:


  • Who is the author? Check for “About,” “Bio,” “Background” or other links. The information may be presented by an organization (government, nonprofit, business, etc.), cited as a corporate author using full organization name.
  • What are their credentials, and are those credentials relevant to the topic?
  • What is the domain of the website? Government (.gov) and educational (.edu) sources are generally considered more authoritative than commercial (.com) or organizational (.org) sources. Many .orgs do belong to nonprofit, research, or nongovernmental organizations, but be sure to evaluate the content.


  • If the author is an individual a group of individuals, what are their affiliations? Do they work for a government agency, academic institution, political organization, or company?
  • If they are affiliated with an organization, or are a corporate author, is there a possible profit, political, or other motive or bias that might influence the information provided?


  • Consider your topic. Information for the sciences and social sciences usually needs to be more current, often within the last 10 or even 5 years. 
  • Check for a date on the published item itself. If this isn't available, check for the copyright date of the site, usually at the bottom of the page.
  • Does the site look well-maintained? Do the links function?