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POSI 3314: State and Local Government: Evaluating Websites

Dr. Fields

Advanced Google Searching

You can use Google Advanced Search to find more relevant information.  However, you can use these tips to search without having to go through through the Advanced Search page.

Phrase Searching:
Use quotation marks around words to ensure that Google searches them as an exact phrase.  For example "Texas State University"

Limit to a Website or Domain:
Google lets you search within a specific website or a domain by typying site:domain or website.  For example, you can search the city of San Marcos website by typing site:san-marcos.tx.us.

One benefit is that you can easily limit your results to more legitimate websites.  So, instead of going to specific websites or government portals, you can search site:.gov, site:.mil, site:tx.us, etc.

Limit to a type of file:
You can limit your results to a particular file format.  For example, you can search filetype:pdf to find only pdf documents.  

Use Boolean Search terms
Boolean strategies can also be used in Google.  For example, Google automatically searches with an understood AND.  However, you can use an OR operator to search results that have different search terms.  For example, you can search for College OR University. 

Google Scholar Search

If you've ever used Google Scholar, you may have been asked to pay for the articles you find, but you don't have to.

Go to Google Scholar via the Research Databases page of the library website (and sign in with your NetID and password if you're off campus), and you'll have access to all of the full-text articles in the library's collection.

Or use the search box below if you're on campus!

Google Scholar Search

Google Web Search

Be sure to read How do I evaluate websites? to the right before using regular Google to search for sources, and check out the infographic below for some expert search strategies.

Google Web Search

Get More out of Google

Get more out of Google

Created by: HackCollege

How do I evaluate websites?

If you find a website that you think might be useful for your assignment, use this list as an evaluation tool. This is just a starting point—you may find more points to consider as you become more comfortable with evaluating your sources. Some of these points are worth keeping mind as you evaluate articles, too.

Currency

  • When was this article or page published? Has it been updated since then?
  • Has the author written more recent papers on the same subject?
  • Does this article contain statistics or data? Are more current figures available elsewhere?

Relevance

  • Does the information in this article answer your research question?
  • Does the type of article fit the requirements of your assignment?
  • Is this article appropriate for college-level research?

Authority

  • Who wrote the article?
  • Is the author an expert in the field? What credentials does he or she have to suggest that?
  • Can you find any other resources that cite this article?

Accuracy

  • Does the information in the article fit with what you already know about the subject?
  • Does the article contain references or citations to other resources?

Purpose

  • Does the article seem to be objective, or is there any obvious bias or prejudice?
  • Does the author use emotional language?
  • Is the author writing on behalf of any company or political entity?

The CRAAP test was originally created by librarians at Meriam Library at California State University, Chico.