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Foundation Studies

Provides starting points for finding information on the research topics for Foundation Studies.

Credible Sources

Search engines are a useful tool, but how can students get the best results from them? This programme helps students develop a critical approach to conducting online research.

Web Addresses

The web address will indicate the type of site it is and therefore something of the authority, accuracy, purpose and even intended audience of the site:

.gov = government site
.edu = educational site
.com = commercial site
.org/.net = organisational site

The web address will also give you an indication of geographical relevance:

.au = Australia
.uk = United Kingdon
.jp = Japan


Wikipedia is very good in terms of its "currency" and the background information it provides. It has a transparent editorial process where you can access discussions around the information included.

But remember that like the internet generally the contributors to Wikipedia have no necessary "authority" or expertise. It is important to check the information for "accuracy". Don't rely on information you obtain there and ensure that it is consistent with other sources.

Website Evaluation Criteria


  • Audience: Is the information aimed at a specific group of readers?
  • Language: In what language is the information written? Are there many grammatical or type errors? Is it filled with domain specific language (e.g. .com)?
  • Currency: Is the information up to date?
  • Connection (relevance) to task: Does the information answer some or all of my questions?
  • Amount of information: Too simple or too indepth?


  • Author: Who has written the information? Can I contact him/her?
  • References: Are there references on the page to used sources? Or links to more websites on the same subject?
  • Information: Does it agree with other sites, current research or prior knowledge?
  • Organisation: Which organisation is behind the information? A government, private or commercial organisation? Can I find their logo on this site?


  • Kind of information: What kind of information is it? A newspaper article or a forum? Is it an opinion or results from research? Is it a word document or a PDF file?
  • Objectivity: Is the information objective or biased by a certain point of view? Are there a lot of advertisements on the page?
  • Primary/Secondary source: Is the information first hand or is it someone relating information second hand?
  • Goal: What does the (author of) the information want to achieve?  Sell something? Convince me of something or just inform me?