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College Level Research - Getting Started!: Finding Reliable Sources Online

Use this guide to get your research started. Included in this guide are some helpful tips to get you well on your way to writing a great research paper!

List of Quality Government Sources

Online Open Internet Sources


In this day in age of enormous amounts of information online, it can be difficult to decipher which online sources you can trust!  Here are a few strategies to know what you can trust and what you can't

1.) REMEMBER that ANY link you find on the McGrath Library Website is a link to a quality source.  There are many options for finding articles through our subscription databases, and those databases are filled with safe materials to use for research! We also have a page dedicated to Open Internet Sources that are safe to use (Government Sources, Organizational Sources, News Sources, & Education Sources). 

2.) Use government sources! All government websites end in .gov  Examples include: Census Bureau, Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), Center for Disease Control (CDC), Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Congressional Budget Office (CBO), & Government Accountability Office (GAO).  All of these sites in in .gov

3.) Use organizational sources.  Many of the organizational websites are quality sources that are safe to use as sources.  These websites end in .org  HOWEVER, some organizational sources are very biased.  To be safe ask a librarian! 

3.) Avoid .com websites unless you specifically need information from that commercial website.  Most commercial sites have an agenda that is based on monetary profit, rather than quality information. 

4.) Avoid websites with a .com address and advertisements. (Exception: News agencies).

5.) If you are still skeptical, ask a librarian, OR do a Google search to see if the information you received from a website is repeated elsewhere     

What Questions Should You Ask About a Source?


•WHO Created the source?
    •Is there an Author?
    •Are there Credentials?
    •What kind of Credentials?

•WHEN was the Source Created?
    •Is Date Relevant to your topic?
    •Is There a Date?

•WHY Was the Source Created?
    •Sell for Profit

•WHO Was the Source Created For?
    •Experts, Scholars & Students

•Are There Other Sources Cited to Support the Argument?
•Are There Advertisements?