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Doing Internet Research

Let's face it--there is a lot of information available on the Internet! How do you determine if it's GOOD information, especially if you want to use it for research?


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Things to Consider....

Authority:

  • Who wrote this information, and why?
  • What credentials or expertise does the author have in the subject area?
  • Is the information fact-based, or opinion-based?
  • Who owns or is sponsoring the website?

Purpose

  • Who is the intended audience? Is it for scholars, the community, or private groups?
  • Does the site include a mission statement?
  • What is the purpose of the site? Is it to inform, instruct, persuade, or to sell?

Objectivity:

  • Is the information biased? If so, does the author acknowledge these biases?
  • Does the author present alternative points of view?
  • Does the website sponsor have any vested interests that could cause bias?

Accuracy

  • Is the information contained in this site correct?
  • How accurate is other information within the site?

Credibility

  • Where does the information come from?
  • Does the author provide references or a bibliography?
  • If references are listed, are they from primary or secondary sources? Are the references themselves trustworthy?
  • Do the links to reference work, or are they broken?

Timeliness

  • When was the site last updated?
  • Have there been any new developments or changes in that subject since it was created? Is it outdated?
  • How current are the sources listed as references?

Relevance

  • How will using this source contribute to your research?
  • Is this type of resource permitted by your professor?
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