Topic 6: Evaluating Resources

May 26th, 2010

Nowadays you are not limited to costly databases like Lexis Nexis or Academic Search Complete to find reliable resources on the internet. You can find lost of good information for free with your Google browser. Google U.S. Government Search, Google News and Google Scholar are all great places if you are searching for data that is very recent or that is very accurate.

Google U.S. Government Search

A search for “violent crime” returned government publications ranging from federal statistics to press releases from a state governor. Government publications do not cite individual authors, and all are considered reliable sources. The results seem to be listed by relevance only, and dates of publication are only sometimes listed on the results page. However, the fact that information on government websites must be at recent as possible is helpful.

Google News

Google News provided the most recent data regarding violent crime. In fact, one of the top ranked articles was posted online only 10 minutes ago! The advantage of using Google News is the chronological categories of information that is easily accessible on the right hand side of the page. Under each heading is the name of the author and journal, as well as a direct link to all articles written by that specific author. This is very convenient if you trust this author’s work and want to find more work of the same quality.

Google Scholar

The results yielded by Google Scholar seem to be the least recent. The first five results are all dated back to the 1990’s or earlier, so you should narrow your search to only include articles written since a certain decade. You cannot find a link to all articles written by a certain author, but you can see the article’s citations, find related articles, and customize your search with the handy toolbar at the top.

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