Identify Search Results

Once you have defined the search parameters, you will almost immediately be bombarded with many pages listing places on the web to go to find out more information about your topic. The problem is that many of these pages are either irrelevant or repetitive. You need to have some criteria for determining what results are both helpful and reliable. While it has much reliable information, the World Wide Web is also a huge garbage dump for false and unreliable information.

The first step in your identification process is to know what type of result you have generated. As the web becomes increasingly more commercial, many search engines offer results that appear because they have paid to include them. In Google, for example, these results appear on the right-hand side of your screen under th heading "Sponsored Links". Paid results might or not be helpful, but you should be aware that the search engine has been paid to include them.

The type of domain also is an indication of how reliable your result is. Generally the best result comes from a .edu, a domain that belongs to a four-year, degree granting institute of higher learning. However, when viewing .edu sites, you want to distinguish between official institution information and unofficial personal pages, which could be just personal opinions.
Another type of domain that is generally very trustworhy is a .gov. This type of domain indicates it is the property of an official governmental organization.
The most popular domain type, .com, might or might not be reliable. A .com can be owned by anyone, is not subject to any kind of review, and can basically contain any type of information its owner desires to put up. There is absolutely no guarantee of reliability.
The most mysterious domain type is the .org. Originally a .org could only be held by a non-profit organization. However, the rules were changed. Today anyone can own a .org, so there is nothing to guarantee reliability, responsibility, or attribution.

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