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Bill of Rights Project: Web Sources

A LibGuide reference for the Bill of Rights Project and resources for context and analysis

On This Page...

On this page you will find...

  • Access and references for news sources for this project
  • Recommended reference and law websites for this project
  • Criteria to evaluate web content

Why Should We Evaluate Sources?

Much of the information on the internet is not regulated or vetted. Despite this fact, there are numerous useful and reliable sources online. Therefore, in order to utilize these, it is especially important for researchers to evaluate a web source before using it to support their ideas or inform their opinions. When using web sources, be sure to examine the:

  • Currency: is the date of publication of the sources time sensitive? Does it inform the content?
  • Relevancy: Is the information in the source related to my topic or thesis? Does it address my research needs?
  • Authority: Who is the person or group writing or editing the content of my source? Are they qualified to write or speak on the subject?
  • Accuracy: Is the content published true? Are other reliable sources documenting the same information? What is the original source/primary source?
  • Purpose: Why is this information being published (i.e. to inform/entertain/provoke/promote)? Is there any inherent bias apparent? Does the publisher have a history of such behavior?

Although not every single criteria may be applicable to every source, you should evaluate the degree to which the source is reliable or not

 

Constitutional Law Websites

Google Advanced Search

One of Google's lesser known search tools, Google Advanced Search uses operators to narrow and limit search results. Use the following tips in order to improve and narrow your internet searching:

  • Phrase searching: When searching on Google use the "exact" search bar to enclose keywords within a phrase (ex. "freedom of the press". 
  • File Format Searching: By specifying a file type (i.e.: many supreme court case files will be saved as PDFs) you will limit your results 
  • Domain Searching: Limiting your search results to academic or government sites will yield more reliable sources (ex. .edu or .gov)
  • Related Searching: If you want to find new websites with similar content to a website you already know use related:somewebsite.come modifier (i.e: related:justia.com)

Using Google News

Using Google News to Find Articles


  • Searching by Section
  • Headlines vs. Local News
  • Creating "interests" and using tags 

What to Look For in News Sources


  • What type of content is this?
    • A news story? an opinion piece? a reaction? native ads?
  • Who and what are the sources cited?
    • How does the news source support their claims? Are there sources cited? Are they vetted? 
    • What types of citations do they use? (i.e. sourceless, witness accounts by journalists, accredited experts, sources that are close in proximity)
  • Is there anything missing?
    • Is the information presented from one point of view? Are there multiple perspectives presented?
    • Does the author omit information or write in generalities?
    • Does the author present the who, what, where, why, how?