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FYS Steege: The Hero's Journey: Online Resources


Using Wikipedia

Wikipedia can be a great starting point for research when you're trying to familiarize yourself with terms, big ideas, and important people or events related to your topic. Always check the citations of facts you find in Wikipedia if you're using them in your research. You can also use citations on Wikipedia pages as a jumping-off point for your own research--you can read the materials yourself to gain more info. You can always request materials that look promising through interlibrary loan, and we'll try to borrow them from another library. They will be delivered to Marian, where you can pick them up from the library's circulation desk. 

Evaluating Online Sources

Use the following criteria for evaluating the validity of Internet content:

Primary considerations:

  • Authority & Authorship - Is there a clearly defined author of the content, and if so, what are his or her credentials? Is there an "About" section listed on the site? Can the authors be contacted?
  • Bias - Is there a pursuit of objectivity in the content that is presented?  Or is there a noticeable bias or implicit agenda on the part of the author(s) that is discernible?
  • Relevancy - Is the content current enough or even pertinent to the subject to support the claims of the authors? How often is the content updated?
  • Accuracy - Are the proposed conclusions verifiable from the data presented? Is any data and accompanying references presented? Can fact be adequately separated from opinion?  

Also known as the CRAAP Test for evaluating information, use this set of criteria to maintain a critical focus on whatever sources are used in your research.

Other considerations for evaluation:

  • What is the domain of the site's URL (.com,.edu,.org,.net,.gov)?
  • Are there numerous broken links across the site?
  • Are there advertisements on the page which may promote an agenda?
  • Does the site rely too heavily on extra, downloadable software?

 Other helpful sites 

Evaluating Web Pages: Techniques to Apply & Questions to Ask - University of California, Berkeley

Evaluating Information Found on the Internet - Johns Hopkins University