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Factual Research: Home

Credibility of sources

Once you venture outside of trusted legal databases like Westlaw and LexisNexis to do non-legal research on the web, you need to evaluate the credibility of the resources you are using.

Ask yourself the following questions to help determine credibility of a website:

  • What does the URL reveal? (.gov, .mil, .edu, or country codes like .uk)
  • Who wrote the page? Is the author a qualified authority?
  • Is it information outdated or current and timely?
  • Is information cited authentic and verifiable?
  • Does the page have overall integrity and reliability as a source?
  • What's the bias?
  • Could the page or site be ironic, like a satire or a spoof?

(Adapted from Evaluating Web Pages: Questions to Ask & Strategies for Getting the Answers.)

General Reference

Factual research versus Legal research

If legal research involves searching for cases, statutes, laws, rules, and regulations, what is factual research? Fact-finding or information gathering involves searching for people, corporations, scientific & medical reports, public records or any other non-legal research.  Factual research is necessary to provide background information, find expert witnesses, or fulfill required due diligence.  

 

Resources on factual research

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