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Evaluating Sources

A guide to evaluating the credibility of the sources of information you use in your assignments.

Evaluating websites

Using web addresses to find higher quality results

Looking at the domain name of the website can give you a good idea of its focus and credibility. For example, a commercial website is likely to be focused on selling a product, while educational or government webpages are likely to contain reliable/credible information.

Different countries follow different patterns for domain codes.  Australia follows the American pattern while New Zealand follows the British pattern.  America is the only country without a country domain.

You have two options to limit to specific domains when running Google searches:

  1. Run an advanced Google search and > narrow your results by... site or domain > type your desired domain name in the box > search
  2. Type your keywords in a Google search box and limit by site, e.g. goannas rainforest

Common Domains


.edu educational
.gov / .govt government departments
.org organisations
.com / .co commercial body, company, personal websites
.net networks, personal websites

Country Domains


.au Australia
.uk United Kingdom
.ca Canada
.nz New Zealand

We acknowledge the Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the first inhabitants of the nation and acknowledge Traditional Owners of the lands where our staff and students, live, learn and work.Acknowledgement of Country

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Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA) 4.0 International License. Content from this Guide should be attributed to James Cook University Library. This does not apply to images, third party material (seek permission from the original owner) or any logos or insignia belonging to JCU or other bodies, which remain All Rights Reserved.