Chapter 2 Tutorials

Evaluating Internet Sites 101
From the University of Albany, State University of New York

Google Scholar Basics
A short video introduction to Google Library from Riverpoint Library.

Internet Detective
Developed by several scholars at British universities. Award winning.

Web and L.I.Brary
A take-off on the PC vs. Mac commercial. The YouTube description says merely that it was originally created for a community college

Chapter 2 Take-aways


Chapter 2 discusses the differences between Google and Google Scholar.  Both have their uses.  I use Google every day to purchase things or to find out about an upcoming dog show or to find lists of the best refrigerators to buy.  I also frequently use Google Scholar when I want to find scholarly research articles on a topic that I’m having difficulty finding elsewhere.  So, the question below is based on the Chapter 2 readings: 

1. Which of these would more commonly be in: Google Scholar or Google?

  1. Articles on the effects of pets on human longevity
  2. Pages to order pet gear
  3. A critical examination of the effects of the web on print newspapers
  4. A copy of The Onion
  5. A diagram of the periodic table of elements
  6. Background information on the Vietnam War
  7. An analysis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder among Vietnam War vets

Answers are on the bottom of this page.

Chapter 2 lists criteria for evaluating information available on a website:

  • Accuracy–Is the information on the site accurate, factual?  
  • Authority–Is the author or sponsor of the website qualified to write expertly on this topic?
  • Content–A lot like accuracy. How does the content compare with other information you know about a topic? Is coverage complete? Does it leave out important information?
  • Currency–Look for a creation or “last updated” date. Non-working links could indicate the site has not be updated in a while. In some cases currency is not as important as other criteria (e.g., popular songs recorded in the 1960s), but in most cases it can be crucial (e.g., news of the day, new developments in cancer treatment).
  • Point of view–Does the site give more than one point of view on an issue, or does it only show one side of an issue?
  • Purpose–similar to point of view, ask yourself why the website exists. To inform? To convince or promote a particular viewpoint? To sell you something?

2. For each of the following websites, give the purpose of the site:



Chapter 2 indicates that Wikipedia has areas of strengths and areas of weaknesses. Most people would say you shouldn’t cite Wikipedia in a research paper.  But it is sometimes a great sources of information.  It often shows up early in Google search results because it is often used to introduce someone to a new issue or topic.

From the list of topics below, choose whether Wikipedia would be strong or weak for information on that topic.

  1. The architect for Vancouver’s tallest completed building.
  2. Information about the hip-hop band Public Enemy.
  3. Biographical information about Joseph McCarthy
  4. The world of professional wrestling
  5. Bauhaus architecture
  6. Detailed, factual information on slavery reparations after the Civil War
  7. The most recent information on the 2013 sequester
  8. Information on artificial intelligence.

Chapter 2 mentions that ISU makes its databases available to students who are working off-campus.  What do you use in order to log in to the databases the library makes available when you are off campus?

  1. Your nine-digit university ID number and a library password you choose
  2. Your net ID and password (for using CyMail, for example)
  3. Your eleven-digit university ID number and a library password you choose
  4. Your net ID and your university ID number


Answers to question 1:

  1. If you’re looking for articles, you search Google Scholar
  2. You can purchase items using Google
  3. To find critical analyses, use Google Scholar
  4. You can find issues of The Onion searching Google
  5. You can find images and diagrams by searching Google
  6. For background information on a subject, search Google
  7. For analytical studies, use Google Scholar

Answers to question 2:

  1. This is a company site and they want to sell you their products.
  2. This is an informational site—it’s there to inform.
  3. This is from an organization dedicated to erasing smoking from the world. They are pushing a certain point of view.
  4. This is a page from the National Institutes of Health whose purpose is to inform.
  5. The Sierra Club is a famous organization dedicated to the preservation of the land. They are pushing a point of view.
  6. This is a total hoax site.
  7. This is a site to sell test preparation for all of the national exams, such as the SAT, ACT, GRE, LSAT.

An organization whose purpose is to advocate for a particular point-of-view, such as the Sierra Club or Americans For Non-smokers’ Rights, is not necessarily a bad source of information. You just need to know their mission and validate information that you find on their sites.

Answers to question 3:

  1. Strong
  2. Strong
  3. Weak
  4. Strong
  5. Weak
  6. Weak
  7. Strong
  8. Strong

Answer to question 4:

To log into your library account off-campus, you need to use the last eleven digits of your university ID number and a password that you have previously chosen for this purpose