What Makes a Good Search Result

While Google is great at bringing you results, it won't tell you which websites are the best. It is up to you to determine if the website is giving you accurate information, if it is written by someone who knows about that topic, if it is advertising products and if the information is up-to-date. Here are some questions to help you determine if a website is worthwhile:

Accuracy

  • Who wrote the page and can you contact him or her?
  • What is the purpose of the document and why was it produced?
  • Is this person qualified to write this document?
  • Does the author give contact information?

Authority

Look for an About Us or About Me page.

  • Who published the document?
  • Are the author(s) credentials or affiliations with organizations listed?
  • Check the URL: What institution or organization published this document? Look for URLs that end with .edu, .gov, .org, or .net.
  • Does the author tell you where they got their information?

Objectivity

  • What goals/objectives does this page meet?
  • How detailed is the information?
  • What opinions (if any) are expressed by the author?
  • Is the website trying to sell you something? If so, the information may be biased.

Currency

  • When was it produced?
  • When was it updated?
  • How up-to-date are the links? Are there dead links?
  • Is the page content outdated?

Information from the Cornell University Library.

Class Assignment

How can you tell if a search result will be a good one?