How do I find authoritative information using Google?

You can use the following checklist to decide whether your website is authoritative.

    Website evaluation checklist

  • What credentials does the author / creator have? Can you find other evidence of these credentials? Try Googling the author to find out anything else that might verify  credentials.
  • Read the “About us” on the web page. What is the purpose of the website? Is there evidence here to support the accuracy and reliability of the website’s content.
  • Is the website biased?
  • Is there a date on the website? Is it regularly updated? Never use undated statistical or factual information.
  • Are there references to the website’s own sources of information? How reliable are these sources?

Here are some websites that are hoaxes – How do they measure up against the checklist?

Moonbeam Enterprises – Want to vacation on the moon?

California’s velcro crop

To improve the quality of your Google search results you can use Google Scholar and Google Advanced Search:

 Google Scholar

  • To find it search Google for  “ Scholar“. Click the first link to open it.
  • Add the link or URL to your bookmarks toolbar or favourites toolbar for quick access.
  • Google Scholar will find authoritative information including peer-reviewed articles, books, and more.
  • (Click here to find out “What is a peer-reviewed article?”)

Google Advanced Search

  • To find it search Google for  “Advanced“.
  • Click on the first  link to open Google Advanced.
  • Add the Google Advanced link or URL to your bookmarks toolbar or favourites toolbar for quick access.

To find Google Advanced you can also

a.  select the Gear icon in the right of the screen after your first Google Search then

b.  select Google Advanced.

Using Google Advanced:

  • Enter your search terms
  • Add an authoritative site or domain extension in the  “Site or domain” area e.g. is used in the example below.
  • Press “enter” on your keyboard to activate the search.

Some examples of New Zealand Domain name extensions

The websites which use the following domain name extensions in blue have been  either moderated by an expert panel or are more likely to include authoritative information useful for tertiary studies.

For more information on domain name extensions 

Read page 10. for  current second level NZ domain names as of September 2012 from the Domain Name Commission

Read here for  the moderated NZ domain names i.e domains that are checked for greater authority from the Domain Name Commission

Read here for International domain name extensions from Wikipedia

e.g. Site or  domain     .au to find Australian websites,

.jp to find Japanese websites, etc.

.mobi to find mobile compatible sites

Become a Google aficionado and read Miller, M (2008) Googlepedia or quickly learn some awesome Google search techniques delivered by a Google Research scientist, Russell Beck and investigative reporter John Tedesco who attended his seminar.


Happy  Googling! 

About Tina - Librarian

Collections Librarian
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