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*Evaluating Sources*

It Really Does Matter

College writing requires a higher degree of quality and reliability from sources than does high school or personal writing.  The information you use needs to be accurate, credible, reliable, and timely.  The days of doing a Google search and using the first pages you find that talk about your subject are over.  You need to use sources written by subject experts or those who have done quality research on the topic. 



It is a safe bet that anything from the following list is not appropriate for an essay in a college course.

  • Any site that sells essays or papers.  Even if they provide essays for free. 
  • Content from an elementary or middle school website.  The information may be good, but you are in college, not elementary school.  You should also probably avoid High School sites, as well.  Again, you are in college now.
  • Essays or blog entries from other college-level essays written by students.  Think about reliability and authority - you want information from subject experts.
  • Wikipedia.  ANYONE can create and edit content on Wikipedia.  Sometimes the references on Wikipedia articles can lead you to sources that are appropriate.