Identify a topic or thesis relevant to this course, world history 1500-2000

  1. Identify a topic or thesis relevant to this course, world history 1500-2000. Use the same one as your annotated bibliography assignment since you are already familiar with the subject.
  2. Search for five (5) websites which may be acceptable for use in a college-level history research paper. Do NOT use Wikipedia, History.com or any other encyclopedia or wiki-type site like about.com or sites that require a paid subscription.
  3. Remember that you are evaluating the website, so you may only use each one once.  
  4. Write a paragraph of 200-250 words for each website to evaluate the website utilizing the criteria you learn from the library tutorial. Then specifically state whether you think that the website is or is not acceptable for academic use and why.

Examples of websites which are and are unacceptable for use are found below.

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Begin by stating your topic or thesis.

Provide a complete citation (as you would include it in your bibliography) for the site, including the URL and your date of access. Note that the required style for this class is Chicago Manual of Style.  For an example of what elements to include in your citation, go to

For each website, use the evaluation criteria provided by the Library Services tutorial to determine if the site is or is not appropriate for college-level academic research (i.e. a college-level history research paper).

For guidance, watch the 13 minute Crash Course video on Lateral Reading, which is the ability to cross check a website’s credibility as you are looking for information:

If you would like a transcript, click on the three horizontal dots under the video, and select Open Transcript. The transcript will open to the right of the video.

Sometimes people confuse a web address with being the same as a website. This is not the case. Articles from journals or websites are NOT websites.  Make sure you are clear as to what a website is. For example, msn.com, yahoo.com, or bbc.com are websites. Any article contained within them are not websites.

If your topic is contained within a part of the website then you must still evaluate the website as a whole for its suitability for use in a college level history research paper.  You will find a sample Annotated Webliography in the same sub-module as the assignment.  Do not use the websites from the sample assignment.

Additionally, some websites are not considered suitable for college-level research. Please find a list of the most common websites that are unacceptable for college-level work:

EXAMPLES OF UNACCEPTABLE WEB RESOURCES: AVOID THESE WEB SITES

  • For profit, commercialized sites that sell advertisements;
  • Private web resources were you can find nothing substantive about the author or the political philosophy or the private funding source;
  • The History Channel or any A&E Television material;
  • History.com or the Independence Hall Association  (for profit)
  • Encyclopedia.com:  it is a commercialized site that “uses” information from accredited sources.  Go to the UMGC Library and ask the Librarian to help you find the relevant Oxford Companion to History series.
  • Britannica.com:  See above.  It sells ads and “uses” information from other sources.
  • About.com:  not professional; commercialized;
  • History.org:  a commercialized site;
  • HistoryNet.com:  sells magazines;
  • YouTube, “home-made videos.”  If the video comes from a scholarly source, it is acceptable.
  • Alpha History. 

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