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LING 110 Library Session Exercise

When searching Google you will encounter sources of varying quality. Because you may be investigating somewhat obscure topics, it is likely that you will see articles and pages that look relevant, have authors, and are even affiliated with reputable institutions or publications. So how will you know if they are of high enough quality for your research? 

The answer is never clear-cut, and typically depends on the context or your particular information goal. Nevertheless, here are questions you can ask yourself when evaluating sources you find online:

  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Who is the author? What expertise do they have on the topic?
  • What institution, organization, or publication has made this source available? What is their relevance to the topic?
  • What, as best as you can tell, is the purpose of this source? 

To answer these questions shouldn't take much time, but it may include some additional clicks and searches.

Below are three examples from a Google search for "Multicultural London English." None of these are "bad" or "unreliable" sources. But are they worth citing in your project?

The Common Tongue of Twenty-First Century London

The Rise of Multicultural London English, Innit?