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Mexican American History: Searching the Web

Searching Google

Google can be a great search tool that can provide you with quality results if you try a few tips: 

 Google Search box

  • To get more precise results, try putting your search terms in quotes 
  • You can try adding the terms site:.edu or site:.gov to limit your results to sites coming from these domains
  • Use Google tools such as Google Scholar for scholarly content or Google Images for images
  • Always, always evaluate the results of your searches -- See the box below for more information. 

How do I determine if a website is reliable?

Evaluating Websites and Other Sources

Consider...

  • Who is the author?
  • Why was it written -- for what purpose, organization, or audience?
  • When was it written?
  • Does it include references or a works cited list?

If you cannot determine the credibility of the information you are using, especially from a website, it's best not to use it to factually support your argument. Using biased or inaccurate information in your paper can negatively impact your grade.

Recommended Search Tools

About using Wikipedia

Wikipedia is a great tool for a summary of a topic. Wikipedia content is constantly revised, and entries vary in quality. Some of the content is excellent, some is questionable.

Many educators frown on the use of Wikipedia. Why?

  • Wikipedia content is not necessarily written by subject experts, and may be inadequate or incorrect.
  • Articles in Wikipedia may be changed or deleted between viewings.
  • For research papers, you need authoritative resources, so it is absolutely necessary to consult other sources.
  • Anyone can search Google or find a Wikipedia article. To demonstrate academic skill, it is important to go beyond these basic tools.

How can you use Wikipedia in a way that benefits your research process?

  • Scan the article to get general information and terms you can use as keywords for further searching.
  • Scan the article for references. Sometimes these can lead you to excellent books or articles that you can find at the EVC Library or through our collection of databases.
  • Don't reference Wikipedia articles in your paper, unless you are pointing out something specific to Wikipedia.
  • As you read Wikipedia articles, you may read notations that call for more evidence, or call attention to bias. These are very constructive principles that apply to your own work. What if Wikipedia editors read your work? Would they mark areas for revision?