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ENGL 1301: Composition & Rhetoric I (Boston): Find Your Sources

ENGL 1301 | Prof. K. Boston (Fall 2021)
The links on this page are starting points: you can certainly find other appropriate sources than these! Remember to evaluate each source you find for authority, accuracy, and credibility, however.

Starter Research


Background information or overviews or fast facts -- you want to look up something, be able to quickly learn what the heck it is, and then move on. These types of sources are relatively short and while they may cover a lot of ground about a topic, they stick to basic who/what/when/where facts, not deep analysis.

Popular Sources:

Library jargon for the easy, accessible, affordable sources of information that are good but not quite as rigorous as academic works. News stories and magazines are a couple typical examples, but regular websites fit in here, too.

What about books?:

Books, like websites actually, exist on a spectrum: some are popular, some are scholarly. They get a little bit of a credibility edge by having to pass through a publisher, at least! They also exist on a spectrum of depth, with some providing nice introductions to topics (like your class textbooks) while others offer a deep dive into a very focused subject.

Google Better

You can streamline the quality of your Google searches by focusing on government (.gov), education (.edu), and organization (.org) domains in your results.

  • .gov is the most strict to register -- non-government entities can't get it!
  • .edu is mostly universities, but you'll sometimes come across some K-12 entities with this domain. Make sure you're not reading a student paper as a source, though!
  • .org is the least reliable of these three, since it doesn't take much to form an organization.


Google has some advanced search commands to make this quicker. Just add site:___ to your search! E.g. or even just Try it below!

Google Web Search

Evaluating Information

The CRAAP Test

Evaluate your source's...


CRAAP test factors: Currency, Relevance, Accuracy, Authority, Purpose

Also, The Three Rs

Is your source
Recent? Reliable? Relevant?

Is this source up-to-date? Is it about my topic, and does it go into enough depth? Does it come from an authoritative source? Is the information accurate (and are there citations given to back it up)? And why was this information written in the first place?