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National History Day: Evaluating Sources

Evaluating Websites

Google Search Operators

# Finds popular hashtags for popular topics. 
* Use an asterisk to represent unknown or wildcard terms. 

If you include a dash before a search term or site, it subtracts pages with those terms from your results. 


If you put a phrase or word in quotation marks,  the results will only include pages with the words in quotation marks. 


Get information about a web address, including the cached version of the page, similar pages, and pages that link to the site.

OR Link synonyms with OR. Your results page will contain either term. 
related: Find sites that are similar to a web address you already know.
site: Get results from certain sites or domains.

For more information about search operators, visit Google's page: Search Operators

Evaluating Website Endings

Look at Domain Name

  • You can tell a lot about a website from the domain name like .org, .edu, .gov, or .com


General Guidelines for Credibility


Typically Most Credible: .edu and .gov

  • As a general guideline, you will want to find primary sources or information that come from websites that end with the .edu or .gov domain name. These websites will be generated by educational institutions or governmental institutions and are usually the most trustworthy. 


Requires More Investigation: .org

  • Websites that end with .org require a bit more evaluation to determine whether they are trustworthy. Anyone can create a website that ends with .org. 


Probably Avoid: .com

For your project, you will probably want to steer clear of websites that end with .com. 


Examples of Credible Online Websites


Interested in more credible sources? 


For more websites resources, explore Archives @ VSU

Google Search Operators Demonstrated


Searching "primary sources" instructs Google to return results that contain the exact phrase "primary source" only from sites that have the .edu domain name. 


Google search for "primary sources"