Skip to main content

BUILD IT Express: What About the Internet?

A short version of the BUILD IT tutorial, with just the essential information.


Surveys show that the vast majority of people use the Internet for their information searches. You probably do too. So what's wrong with that? You can find just about everything on the Internet, can't you? EXACTLY! In fact, that is the problem. No one owns the web, no one organizes the web, or checks the accuracy of all the information on the web. However,

You might also retrieve good, useful, reliable information, if you know where and how to look.


Google is the search engine most people are familiar with and a good place to start your web searching. The keywords you choose and how you arrange them in the search box will determine if your search is frustrating or rewarding. Though the following tips come from Google, they would apply to most search engines:


 Use several specific search terms, rather than a broad general term.
 Google ignores common words such as: the, how, where, on , in
 Google automatically supplies AND to connect terms
 For example, If your topic concerns people addicted to internet gambling, 
gambling internet addiction

 All results will contain all three words.

 Use quotation marks to combine words into phrases.
 Google will only search for the exact phrase, not each individual word.
 For example: "to be or not to be" The exact phrase will appear in the results.
 Good for proper names and famous phrases.

 Use to include or exclude words (+, -, OR). Use + to include words. (If a  
 common word is crucial to a search, put + in front of it, in order to include it.) 
 Using - is like using NOT. Always precede + and - with a space.
 For example: Use - to exclude words when your search term has more than

 one meaning: virus -computer will find medical information, not information 
 on computer viruses.

 You will find the link to the Advanced Search screen by clicking on the gear 
 wheel at the top right portion of the Google results page.  This gives you 
 more search options and ways to combine search terms. You can restrict 
 your search to specific dates, sites, domains, file types, etc.
 For example:
 with all of the words = normal keyword search
 with the exact phrase = same as using quotation marks
 with at least one of the words = same as OR
 without the words = like using - operator before a search term


Now that you have found some information on a website that you would like to use, how do you know if it is a reliable source?  You should put it to the CRAAP Test, developed by Meriam Library at California State University, Chico. The questions that apply to web information are listed below, but the CRAAP Test can be used for all your sources.  See the full CRAAP Test here. 


 CURRENCY: The timeliness of the information.

  • When was the information published or posted?
  • Has the information been revised or updated?
  • Are the links functional?

 RELEVANCE: The importance of the information for your needs.

  • Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question?
  • Who is the intended audience?

 AUTHORITY: The source of the information.

  • Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?
  • What are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations?
  • Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source? examples: .com .edu .gov .org .net

 ACCURACY: The reliability, truthfulness and correctness of the content.

  • Where does the information come from?
  • Is the information supported by evidence?
  • Does the language or tone seem unbiased and free of emotion?
  • Are there spelling, grammar or typographical errors?

 PURPOSE: The reason the information exists.

  • What is the purpose of the information? Is it to inform, teach, sell, entertain or persuade?
  • Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?
  • Is the information fact, opinion or propaganda?
  • Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?
  • Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional or personal biases?


Make sure sources fit your topic and provide good support for it.

Just because your material came from the library, doesn't mean it is a good source for your paper. Keep in mind that articles found in library databases come from a wide range of publications. Consider the source before using it. Don't forget, you can,and probably should, limit your search to scholarly journals.

Once you are satisfied with all your research materials, the next step is CITING YOUR SOURCES.