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Communication Studies Guide

Library Resources for Communication Studies
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Common Questions: Answered


Websites should be used sparingly in scholarly research. Students must act as investigators when evaluating a website and ask themselves:

Who? Is the author of the site a person or an organization? How do I know I can trust them? What qualifies them to share/report on this information?

What? Does the website make any claims that need backed up with evidence? Am I finding the same claims in other places? Does the information have any bias?

When? When was this page last updated? Is this time-sensitive information?

Where? What type of URL is it? Is it at a .org, .edu, or .gov? (Return to Who? if uncertain about whether you should trust a URL)

Why? What is the purpose of this website? To inform? To persuade? (Return to What? if uncertain about the information)

Use good sense when looking at a website. If it looks like some random person slapped together a Word document and put it online at a .net, chances are it's not worth using! Look for grammatical errors, pop-ups, and other general design for indicators of whether it is a professional/information website.

Practice Evaluating Websites

Click on each of the three links below to view ".edu" websites that are uniquely different. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What type of information or website is this?
  • Can you identify an author? On whose authority is this information based? Are there any citations?
  • How would you cite this page?
  • In what other types of resources might you find this same information?

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Human Communication Websites