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Learn how to evaluate websites for credibility, which websites are the best to use for academic research, and see some of our suggested websites to use when looking for psychology research on this page. See tips for using Google's Advanced Search feature.
Not everything found on the Internet is reliable or credible.
Think critically about the information on websites and be sure to consider the criteria here to determine if the information is trustworthy and appropriate to use in academic research:
Authority - the source (author or publisher) and their expertise.
- Are the author's credentials, background, or experience provided?
- Is the author a respected corporation, association, or government agency? A researcher in the field, a popular writer who has interest in the subject, or a total unknown who is stating his/her opinion on an issue about which he/she may not be knowledgeable?
Accuracy - the reliability and correctness of the information.
- Has the site been edited, verified or peer-reviewed by others?
- Are sources cited?
Objectivity - viewpoint or bias.
- For what reason (to inform, to persuade, to advertise) is this information shared?
- Is the information fact or opinion?
- Is there a bias of any kind?
Currency - timeliness of the information
- Is the information up-to-date?
- When was the site produced or updated?
- Does your topic require the most current information?
Coverage - level of detail or scope.
- Are all aspects of the subject covered?
- To what audience is the material aimed? (Scholars, general readers, children, etc.)
Relevance - importance or quality.
- Does the information meet your needs?
Finding Better Websites - Decoding Urls
Check the "domain name extension" (end) of the URL (website address).
.gov, .edu, and .org websites tend to have more credible information than other types and often belong to government or regulatory agencies, professional associations or organizations, and universities, colleges, or research institutions. They will likely be the best to use for academic research.
Google Advanced Search Tips