You should be extremely cautious when using internet resources for your research. Anyone can publish anything on the Web. Unlike traditional print resources, web resources rarely have editors or fact-checkers and no standards exist to ensure accuracy on the internet. To determine whether a website may be appropriate for your research, you should take a look at various elements of the page and think about the following criteria.
An appropriate website may be:
- Signed or attributed to an author.
- Created by an expert in the field.
- Hosted by a university, college, branch of government or not-for-profit organization.
- Updated frequently.
- Supported by footnotes, bibliographies, and additional readings.
- Relevant to your research.
An inappropriate website may be:
- Unsigned and unattributed to an author.
- Created by a profit-making company.
- Hosted by advertisers motivated to sell products.
- Biased strongly toward one point of view.
- Out of date and rarely, if ever, updated.
- Devoid of the author's sources.
- Flashy and interesting, but irrelevant.