What kind of information do you need? If you are writing for a class assignment, you may be required to use peer-reviewed ("refereed") or scholarly sources. In any case, you should always look for sources that are authoritative.
Scholarly Checklist--Look for:
Authoritative--A source can have authority even if it isn't scholarly.
Other Criteria-- these are not definitive, but worthy of consideration:
View Evaluating Sources for Credibility, a 3-minute video produced by NCSU Libraries
Although you can find high-quality information through web search engines, using library tools such as the catalog and databases may help you find information sources more efficiently.
|Web Search Engines||Library Tools|
|Search the worldwide web; much is unpublished; quality of information varies from one page to the next||Search published materials, selected for scholarliness and high quality|
|Usually no features for saving search results||Researcher tools allow you to save search results, email, print, generate citations, etc.|
|May be difficult to narrow search results to hone in on what you want||Features are available to narrow search results by topic, format, date, etc.|
|Web pages may be "here today, gone tomorrow," information on webpages may change overnight||Published work has stability; publisher takes responsibility for any updates or error correction|
|Social networking (comments on articles, e.g.) allows you to get an idea of the state of current conversation about an issue||Published materials tend to be more static|
|Good for reading news, current events||Good for finding scholarly and authoritative works on a topic|
|Very current information can be found||Publication process takes awhile; information is weeks or months old|