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Evaluating Sources: Evaluation

Learn tools you can use to evaluate information.

Asking questions

As a researcher you need to be selective and ensure that you are consulting reliable information, Ask yourself questions about the sources you find and avoid taking things at face value. This is especially important when you are searching the Internet because while there are many high quality websites out there, there is also an abundance of misinformation, biased reporting and advertising. Choose your sources carefully and remember that things aren't always as they might appear. 

How observant are you?

A good researcher looks for clues as to what might be going on behind the scenes...

dothetest (2008) Test your awareness: whodunnit? 3rd November. Available at: (Accessed: 16 June 2023)

The Deep Web: One Search & UWS online databases

When you use an Internet search engine such as Google, you are only skimming the surface of the Web. Publishers generally want to see a return on their investment for high quality information and will only publish a small percentage of this content free of charge online.  Most of the academic literature that you need for your assignments is found in an area of the Web known as the `Deep Web'. As a student at UWS, you have free access to Deep Web content via One Search and the UWS databases

Use your Academic Library, because it is our responsibility to ensure that all of the resources and materials we provide are high quality.

Fig.1 Deep Web Technologies (2016) Layers of the Web. Available at: (Accessed 14 July 2023)

AI generated content

Artificial Intelligence (AI) software such as ChatGPT generate knowledge-based text in response to human search queries. A good researcher will evaluate this content with the same rigour as any other source. Click here for some helpful advice on evaluating AI content.

Note: AI generated content must be clearly cited to avoid plagiarism as per CTR guidance below:   

Cite Them Right Online (example)

In-text citation

When prompted by the author, ChatGPT responded with a ‘definition of academic integrity’ (OpenAI ChatGPT, 2023). A copy of this response is in Appendix 1.

Reference list

OpenAI ChatGPT (2023) ChatGPT response to John Stephens, 2 April.

Video: Evaluating Sources for Credibility

North Carolina State University (2015) Evaluating sources for credibility. 9 June. Available at: (Accessed: 9 June 2023).

Website domains

Your essays should include plenty of citations to academic literature, especially academic journal articles which contain the most cutting edge scholarly research. 

You can supplement this research with high quality information that you find online as long as you evaluate the sources carefully. Try to ensure you are using information that is produced by educational institutions or recognised authorities in your field of study.  

The URL of the website will give you the first clue, it reveals the type or organisation that is responsible for the content: 

  • = Academic institutions in the UK
  • .com = Commercial sites
  • .edu = Educational institutions
  • .gov = Government
  • = Health information services in the UK
  • .org = Non-profit organizations
  • .mil = Military
  • .net = Network.

Google Scholar

Google Scholar is a tool which enables you to search for academic content on the Web. It works in a similar way to the main Google search engine except that the web crawlers are programmed to search educational platforms exclusively. You can find a range of high quality research on Google Scholar, including articles form academic journals.

A lot of the content on Google Scholar is freely available and can be accessed from the search engine. However, some of the content will be located behind paywalls and require a subscription for access. If you are not able to access the article freely on Google Scholar, try searching for the article on One Search to see if we have a copy in the UWS online library. 


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This work in this guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.