Make sure your Google search results are reliable by using the CRAP test!
Currency: Is there a publish date? If not, how do you know how old it is? Do they mention recent research or is it all old info? Do the links still work?
Relevance: Skim it to make sure it's relevant to your research before you invest time in reading the whole thing.
Authority: Who is the author? What qualifies them to speak on the subject?
Purpose: Why was this website published? To make money? To inform? To sway your opinion on something? Always identify the biases that authors/companies have.
Sometimes you find websites published by companies you trust (like the ones below), but sometimes you need to do some extra investigating to see if you can trust the source.
Let's inspect the New York Magazine article.
It has a published date of Jan 10, 2010
The article talks about the book Just Kids, so if I had already read the book and was looking for more info, this wouldn't be the most relevant site. However, if I was just looking for examples and quotes from the book, this would be a great place to start!
There are other ways to find background info, if you don't want to have to worry so much about the reliability of info on Wikipedia.
Try searching published encyclopedias and reference books instead! You can use Credo Reference to search tons of eBooks for background info on topics!
Sherrill Library | Lesley University, Brattle Campus | 89 Brattle Street - Cambridge, MA 02138 | 617-349-8850
John & Carol Moriarty Library | Lesley University, Porter Campus | 1801 Massachusetts Avenue - Cambridge, MA 02140 | 617-349-8070