"I just used the first link I found." WHAT? NOOOOOOOO!
Not all sources of information are equal. Some are very, very, very bad. You have to look closely and choose the ones that have the most accurate and reliable information. Otherwise, you could be basing your research on inaccuracies. You won't get a good grade if you turn in a research essay with incorrect information! So, how do you know what is good? Look for the following things:
1. Is the author an expert?
2. Is the publisher well-known?
3. Is the information too old? Is it too new, like updated five minutes ago?
4. Is the author trying to persuade you, entertain you, or just give you the facts? Is she or he giving you all the facts or just half of the story?
5. Are there spelling mistakes? Internet slang like "LOL"?
6. Have you corroborated or confirmed the information in other sources?
You have to consider these things. It will help you find good and trustworthy information! Use CRAAP to help you:
C - Currency (age of information)
R - Relevance (does it match your needs? is this a source your teacher wants you to use?)
A - Authority (who wrote it? A university professor? A professional journalist? Some random dude?)
A - Accuracy (where does the information come from? is it supported by evidence? is it biased? are there spelling mistakes?)
P - Purpose (is the author writing to inform, entertain, or persuade?)