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Beyond Google: Research for College Success

EVALUATING Websites and Other Non-Print Media


  1. Learn how and why to pay closer attention to Websites and the evaluation of them.
  2. Learn how to evaluate other non-print media
  3. Learn how to distinguish fake news from real news.
  4. Continue to learn about the parts needed to properly cite different sources.


If you are at this Lecture #5 site and reading this text, it should go without saying that I hope you have already completed the readings from the e-textbook - chapter 8.  This chapter would have discussed how to evaluate websites and other non-print media.  Your 2nd draft of your annotated bibliography requires you to find at least two non-print items that could either be a website, a blog, a film, a video (YouTube, TEDTalk, etc), or a podcast.

Following the above objectives, this lecture will provide you with additional examples and exercises to help you understand how to evaluate websites.  

The lecture will end with introducing you to citations, which is a vital part of creating traditional bibliographies and annotated bibliographies.  Note the ones to be used for non-print media.

Any questions you may have, please do not hesitate to email me or drop by my virtual office hour.   

5.1. Non-Print Media

Even though the term may be unfamiliar to you, non-print media are being used a lot more, in recent times, than print. Examples includes:

  • Internet sites -- websites, blogs, FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram, Flickr, etc.
  • Radio broadcast or podcast
  • Television broadcast
  • Audiobooks
  • Music
  • Photographs
  • Films, Videos, and live-streaming media

It used to be that students, primarily those majoring in Communications and Media Culture, frequently integrated into the above media sources in their research.  However, as these media have become the norm in the 21st Century, everyone now needs to be more adept at evaluating these sources as well.  Integrating these resources into your research papers means you will have to learn how to also provide citations for them. 

Believe it or not, the elements of the RADAR tool can also be used to help you evaluate all of the above media items.  Read it again (out aloud), below and keep in mind websites and other non-print media as you read.

5.2. Let's examine some Websites

As you have read, timeliness of some sources that you might want to use in your research depends on the topic.  If your topic is historical, you may use information as far back as you wish.  However, with medical information, the content you use needs to be up to date and well-researched.  Here are three website for you to compare using the questions on the right? 


The Medical Library:




Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention:

Rationale:  What is the purpose of this website? Is there a sponsor or advertising? Who pays to make this information possible?

Authority: Is there an "About Us" webpage?  Is the viewpoint of the author/org's affiliation reflected in the message? Does the information appear to be valid and well researched?

Date: When was the information published? or last updated?  Are links to references up-to-date?

Accuracy: What is the domain?  It is one to be trusted? Does the website use good grammar? Are the graphics --images, tables, charts, diagrams -- appropriate and clearly presented?

Relevance: Who is the intended audience? Is the information too technical or simplified for you to use?  Does the information add something new to your knowledge?

5.3. Is it a Fake Website? Fake Social Media Information? OR the Real Deal?

Click on the pdf link above to view the Original Checklist from The News Literacy Project.  A review of the items in this checklist will help you get through the next activity.  

5.4 Practice Your Detection Skills - Is It fake News or Did It Really Happened?

Test your skills on detecting whether the news articles posted is real or fake.  See if you can spot at least 5 articles that are fake.  You may play this game by yourself; however, it is a lot more fun if you play it with a few other people.  Click on the hyperlinked title to start the game.  Good luck and enjoy the Factitious News Game.

Post this link into your browser if the hyperlinked title does not work:

Courtesy of American University Game Lab

5.5. Prepare information for citations to your sources...

Again, please note parts of the sources that you have found for your annotated bibliography --books, periodicals, Websites, etc.  Below is at least one type of information you will need to write down with each of its important parts labeled for sources in this week's assignment:

Book: Example book citation
Article in a periodical: Example Article citation
Sources on the web: Example web citation
Online Article Example Online Article Citation


Click on the hyperlinked title to see how you can cite Images and Other Multimedia from MLA 8th edition.


Click on the following hyperlinked titles to see how to cite information from a Webpage from a News Website, Television, Video & Podcasts, and  Social Media from APA 7th edition. 


Now, go to the Blackboard Course site for LIB 102...

Please log in to Blackboard to complete the following listed in Lessons for Week#5.  Any assignment, quiz, or tutorial given in this lesson MUST be completed on or before February 28, 2023 and submitted by 11:30pm.

  1. Complete tutorial on "Evaluating Websites for Academic Research" - 25 points
  2. Submit the 2nd draft of your annotated bibliography -- multimedia sources, i.e. websites, blogs, videos, etc. 
  3. Prepare to take the next mini-quiz on March 1, 2023, which is based on the above readings and modules in Blackboard for Lesson #5.




CREDIT: With permission, partial content on this web page was adapted from the University of Idaho Information Literacy Portal.