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Resources on the World Wide Web

While the World Wide Web is a good place to find information, let's face it -- it is far from perfect. At times, you are better advised to consult a good encyclopaedia. However, if you know what you need and why you need it and are prepared to first evaluate resources you find on the web, by all means use the web to supplement your other inputs.

Here are some things to consider when you do research on the Web:

  1. Have a plan. Your plan must answer these (and other) questions. What are you trying to do in your web search (eg gather subjective information or gather objective information)? What is your own output to be (eg a research paper, statistical analysis, a summary of public opinion)?

  2. It's been said that the World Wide Web is like a big library with all of the book-shelves pushed over and the books scattered around the room. Search engines may help you find tid-bits of useful information, but, for the most part, you'll have to employ your investigative skills to come up with really valuable information. In the end, you may have to go to the local library to send off an inter-library loan request.

  3. The Web is probably "50% junk" (and I am really guessing here)! If you find something on the web, be sure to evaluate the site, the author and the information itself. Was the site produced by an academic or scholarly organization? Has the author published in the print media as well as on the web? Do any printed publications supplement the information on the web site?

  4. Does the site include a street address, phone number and email so that you can request clarification or additional supporting materials?

  5. Is the site well-written (including correct spelling and grammar)? Careless writing is an indication of careless preparation and analysis.

  6. Does the site provide sound analysis or simply express opinions?

  7. Is the site easy to navigate -- down related pages, up related pages, laterally across related pages? Is the site thoughtfully organized into subject areas? Do hyperlinks connect related ideas in other sections of the site? Does the site have an index, table of contents and a search utility?

  8. Does the site provide links to other web sites that may include supplementary information?

  9. Remember to always cite your sources. You must include the precise URL, date you accessed the page, exact titles of the page and the complete paper, author's name, date the page was published and date the paper was published .

The Scarboro Heights Record V10 #8