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How to Identify Credible Websites While Researching Online

The internet is a fountain of knowledge, and answers to life’s greatest questions are just a click away. It’s easy, however, to fall into the trap of fake news articles and unreliable sources. These tips will teach you how to identify credible websites, so you can find the most reliable information the internet has to offer.

Check the web domain

A good first step in identifying credible websites is to look at the URL and web domain. One of the most common domain names is .com, which indicates that the site is owned by a business or is a commercial site. These sites should be closely evaluated for reliability, as the content may be influenced by the website’s sponsors and advertisers. When searching for credible information, try looking at websites that end in .edu, .gov, or .org. Websites ending in .edu are generally affiliated with a higher education institution and often support a database of scholarly articles written by those in the field. If you’re searching for information regarding government policy or tax codes, websites ending in .gov are a good, credible source, as they’re owned by a sector of the federal government.

Check the date

Gone are the days of searching through dusty encyclopedias and browsing library shelves in the search for credible information. The internet has cut research time in half and provides millions of search result that are updated constantly. When searching for the most credible sites, be sure to check the publication date. The last thing you want is to include information that is several years old and outdated. The more recent the content was published, the more credible it’s likely to be.

Check the author’s credentials

One of the dangers of the internet is that anyone can publish content, whether they’re qualified or not. A quick search of the author’s name will usually be enough to tell you if they’re a credible source on a certain topic. If the author is a professional in their field and has written other pieces on the same topic, chances are they can be trusted. If you can’t find any information about the author—or if there is no author listed—you may want to steer clear and find a more credible source.