Monday, July 23, 2012

Research: Evaluating internet resources

Image from Encyclopaedia Britannica
Image Quest
It's the beginning of week 11, which probably means you are working on final assignments. If you are considering using web resources in your research, it is important to evaluate these resources to determine if they are reliable, accurate, and appropriate for university-level research

You should exercise healthy skepticism when it comes to online resources until you have determined that they are authoritative and relevant to your needs. Use the following checklists to help you determine what resources are right for your research: 

Firstly you need to check the domain:
  • .gov – government site
  • .com – commercial site
  • .edu/.ac – educational or research material
  • .org – organisation (Note: Not all .org sites are the official sites. Check the “About us” information on the site to make sure.)
  • .net – networks, some organisations, Internet Service Providers

Now that you have checked the domain, open the webpage and look closely at the content:
  • Authority - Who is the author and can you trust him/her/the organisation? 
  • Currency - How old is it? When was the site last updated? 
  • Clarity - Can you understand what the author is saying? 
  • Objectivity - Can you detect a bias? Is this an objective study or a personal opinion? 
  • Coverage - Can you find further information linked to this site? 
  • Audience - Who does the site target? Are you the intended audience?

For more information on this topic see our Evaluating Websites Guide.


"Google can bring you back 100,000 answers; a librarian can bring you back the right one" - Neil Gaiman

So if you need any help, just Ask a librarian!

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