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Finding Reliable Research on the Internet. So where do I start? Your essays will be comprised of a variety of information, but because we live in a digital.

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Presentation on theme: "Finding Reliable Research on the Internet. So where do I start? Your essays will be comprised of a variety of information, but because we live in a digital."— Presentation transcript:

1 Finding Reliable Research on the Internet

2 So where do I start? Your essays will be comprised of a variety of information, but because we live in a digital age, most of what you find will be from the Internet. You will also have information from at least one book and at least one magazine/newspaper at the conclusion of this project (required). Finding good information is critical to writing a strong essay. In writing a good essay, you must know how to find good web-sites and how to evaluate web-sites once you have found them.

3 AUTHOR In most cases, you should stay away from Internet information that doesn't list an author. While the information you find may be true, it is more difficult to validate information if you don't know the credentials of the author. If the author is named, you will want to find his/her web page to: Verify educational credits Discover if the writer is either published in a scholarly journal Verify that the writer is employed by a research institution or university

4 URL (web addresses) If the information is linked to an organization, try to determine the reliability of the sponsoring organization. One tip is the url ending. If the site name ends, it is most likely an educational institution. Even so, you should be aware of political bias. If a site ends, it is most likely a reliable government web site. Government sites are usually good sources for statistics and objective reports.

5 .org sites Sites that end are usually non-profit organizations. They can be very good sources or very poor sources, so you'll have to take care to research their possible agendas or political biases, if they exist. For instance, is the organization that provides the SAT and other tests. You can find valuable information, statistics, and advice on that site. is a non-profit organization that provides educational public broadcasts. It provides a wealth of quality articles on its site. Other sites with ending are advocacy groups that are highly political in nature. White it is entirely possible to find reliable information from a site like this, as always, you should be mindful of the political slant and acknowledge this in your work.

6 Online Journals and Magazines A reputable journal or magazine should contain a bibliography for every article. The list of sources within that bibliography should be pretty extensive, and it should include scholarly, non-Internet sources. Check for statistics and data within the article to back up the claims made by the author. Does the writer provide evidence to back up his statements?

7 News Sources Every television and print news source has a web site. To some extent, you can rely on the most trusted news sources, but you should not rely on them exclusively. After all, network and cable news stations are involved in entertainment. Think of them as a stepping stone to more reliable sources.

8 Questions to ask yourself when verifying a source: Who is this from? What is the truth about my issue? Is this web-site trying to sell me something? So how do I know if something is any good?

9 Who’s in charge? Determining Authority Determining the authority of any particular site is especially vital if you’re planning on using it as a source for an academic paper or research project. Ask yourself these questions about the website in question: Is it absolutely clear which company or organization is responsible for the information on the site? Is there a link to a page describing what the company or organization does and the people who are involved (an “About Us” page)? Is there a valid way of making sure the company or organization is legit – meaning, is this a real place that has real contact information (email only is not enough)?

10 If you answered “no” to any of these questions, most likely this is not a source you’re going to want to include in your bibliography. Let’s move on to the next level of criteria, which is judging the truthfulness of the information presented.

11 What’s the truth? Determining Accuracy… Eventually while you're on the Web, you will run into information that is not entirely true. In addition to determining the authority of a site, you also need to figure out if it’s presenting accurate information. Here are a few questions to ask yourself: Can I easily figure out who wrote the information? Are all factual claims clearly substantiated, that is, are there cited (linked) sources? Are there any glaring grammatical and spelling errors? This could indicate that the content is not credible. How long ago was the page updated? Is there a date stamp on the article somewhere? You’ll need this especially if you’re using MLA- style citation. Can you verify the expertise of the author? Are the writer’s qualifications clearly stated somewhere on the site?

12 Once again, if you’re not satisfied with the answers to these questions, then you’re going to want to find another Web source. The next step in evaluating a site’s credibility is impartiality, or figuring out what’s behind the message.

13 Are you selling me something? Determine Motivation Say for instance you’re researching the gas prices. Information from oil companies would not necessarily be the most neutral of information sources. So in order to find a non-biased information source, you’ll need to determine neutrality. Ask yourself these questions: Is there an overwhelming bias in the information? Does the writing seem fair and balanced? Or is the writing overly slanted towards a particular point of view?

14 Is the URL appropriate to the content? You should be able to figure out from the site address who the site belongs to, since most organizations and businesses put their name in the URL. This is a good way to determine quickly if the site is legit for your purposes; for example, if you’re researching mad cow disease you probably don’t want to get information from the Beef Farmers of America. Are the ads clearly separated from the content?

15 If the answers to these questions raise doubts in your mind about the site’s integrity, then you’ll need to reconsider this Web site as a credible source. Any site that has an inappropriate bias or a hazy line between the advertisements and the content is NOT a good site to use in a research paper or academic project.

16 USE COMMON SENSE Use common sense when considering a Web site for inclusion in your research project or academic paper. Just because something made its way on to the Web absolutely does not mean that it’s credible, reliable, or even true. Believe me; teachers and professors DO check your bibliographies and if they find a source that does not meet these standards, you’ll have to pull a do-over. It is absolutely essential that you put any Web site through the evaluation hoops mentioned above before you cite it as a source.

17 Information utilized in this PowerPoint taken from the following (reliable) web-site encesearch/a/evaluatesource.htm Author information: dy-Boswell-13134.htm encesearch/a/evaluatesource.htm dy-Boswell-13134.htm

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