Research on the Web
The Internet can be a helpful resource when conducting research. It’s fast, easy, and you don’t have to drive anywhere or lug heavy books around – what’s not to love? However, you should carefully examine Internet sources before using them for research in your paper. Below are some helpful tips to consider when researching online.
Does the site look professional?
If not, it’s probably not a good site to use for research.
Does the site have an author – either an individual or an organization – that you can trust?
If not, you’ll probably want to avoid the information on the site. You’ll only want to use information for your assignments from resources that have valid information written by someone with experience in the field.
Is the site a Wiki?
Be careful using wikis. You’ll want to avoid Wikipedia or other wikis with information that can be written by and edited by anyone. How do you know the information is accurate?
Is it a blog?
Blogs are fun to read (and write!), but personal blogs might not include reliable or accurate information. Always ask your instructor before using information from a blog in an assignment.
Are there lots of popups on the site?
If so, the site might be an enticement to click on those popups rather than a place to get information for an academic paper.
Is the site a politically “slanted” or activist site?
The use of these sites is acceptable if you balance this information with objective data.
Some reliable sites include the following:
- News agencies (CNN.com, PBS.org, AP.org, NYtimes.com, etc.)
- Information portal homepages (MSN.com, Yahoo.com)
- Government sites (city, local, and national)
- Education sites from various universities and colleges (ending in .edu)
For Purdue Global students, the Purdue Global Library is one of the best places to obtain timely and relevant academic research. In the library, you’ll find reliable information from reputable sources.