Here are a few questions to ask yourself on assessing the quality of the website you are using:
1. What is the domain of the site? The domain gives you a clue as to origin? Look for .gov/ .edu/ .org/ .int/ in the web address.
2. Is there an "about us" link or "our history"? Read it. Who made the page? What association? What person? What company? Find out more about this producer.
3. What is the root of the web address. Look at its beginning section. That may tell you who produced or hosts the web page.
4. How old is the information? Is there a date created for the page? OR for the specific link in the page?
5. Does the website seem to have a position on a subject? For? Against? Advocate?
6. What interest might that person, association, organization have in creating this website?
7. Does the page look professional or sloppy? Does it contain ads and if so what kind?
8. Does the website have a "for more research" link? Does it cite sources in its presentation?Bibliographies? Is it purely opinion?
9. Can the information in the webpage be found at another website? Can it verified or duplicated?
10. Conduct a search in google about this website or the person/association/group that created it. Has anyone discussed it? Who has been talking about it in their blogs, websites?
Here are some other links that give you additional tips on assessing your web research:
Evaluating Websites: Tools and Criteria (Cornell U.)
Evaluating Information Found on the Internet (Johns Hopkins U.)
It is not hard to find primary sources on the open Internet search, but you must assess the validity and quality of the source.
Try some of these techniques in GOOGLE
Use these primary source keywords in searches, make sure to try different ones.
SAMPLE TOPIC: Documents of the Salem Witch Trials
SAMPLE TOPIC: Segregation in the United States
These advanced techniques will only work in GOOGLE:
use formulation site:xx followed by a two letter country code, to find web sites based in that country. Find here the two letter codes This will find sites based in that country.
consider searching for your topics in only certain domains of the Internet by entering these terms at the end of our search. Government sites (site:gov) or American sites (site:edu, may be inclined toward more reliability. You must assess this!)