Once you have an understanding of how web domains help to distinguish between different types of websites, you may want to limit your web searching to sites containing a specific domain.
For instance, you may want health information specifically from government agencies, such as the Centers for Disease Control or the National Institutes of Health (sites that will end with the domain .gov).
An easy way to do this in the Google search engine is to type the following in the search box:
[your subject] site:.gov
Example: cancer site:.gov
(to search for government-sponsored sites about cancer)
Not all websites should be considered equal.
Those three little letters at the end of most sites can sometimes give you a pretty good idea of what kinds of information you might find on them. However, you will always want to evaluate potential web sources based upon criteria such as what is listed on the box to the right ("To use or not to use...").
Here are a few of the "domains" that you might encounter while online:
.com = commercial; often (but not always) designed to sell a particular product
.net = similar to .com; may include sites designed by individuals or companies
(Slideshare website -- online presentation sharing)
.org = organizations or associations
(American Cancer Society)
.gov = U.S. government
(Office website for the President of
the United States)
.edu = educational institution
(University of Arkansas - Pulaski Technical College)
*NOTE: When doing college-level research, you will probably want to limit yourself to websites ending in .edu and .gov, because these are usually considered the most reputable types of websites. Organizational websites (.org) may also be good sources, but be careful to watch for bias in these sites.
Before you use a website filled with bad information, go through the Website Evaluation Worksheet. This will help you determine whether or not you can trust a website. BEWARE - a speech built on bad information is a bad speech!
Have a question? Ask A Librarian.