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IRSCLibraries

Pruitt Campus Library: Websites

The Pruitt Campus Library is a partnership with IRSC and the St. Lucie County Library System.

Can you use the Web for your research?

First, check with your instructor!

If you are planning to "google" the Web for your research, any sources that you find should be authenticated. The sites you locate might contain deceptive, biased, or incorrect information. It will be your job to determine which information meets the rigors of academic research. For this reason instructors and librarians often encourage you to use only the library's Web resources, where much of the authentication has already been done for you.

What about Wikipedia?

Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia containing millions of articles. Anyone can write and edit the articles. It's a great place to start looking for information, but it's usually not acceptable as an information source for academic work.

Ask your instructor if Wikipedia is appropriate for your assignment!

EVALUATE! EVALUATE!

You may have grown up with the Internet and feel very confident using Google or Wikipedia. But, do you really know how to conduct academic research on the Web?

You can find some great information out there, but using the Web for academic research requires diligent evaluation.

      

Can I use this website for academic research?

Questions to ask:

  • What does the URL tell you? Is it .com, .edu, .gov, etc.? This is your first clue about the publisher.
  • Who is the author, publisher, and/or sponsor? Is the author an expert or scholar on that topic--or someone simply putting forth an opinion? Is the sponsor reputable? Is the publication a journal or magazine? Be willing to find out!
  • Are the issues or opinions presented supported by evidence? Or, is the information heavily biased?  Bias may be okay as long as you are aware of it.
  • Does this web document list any references or provide links to other reputable websites? These links allow you to do further research on your own, or to independently verify information.
  • When was the site last updated? Is there a date on the document you are evaluating? A credible web page should provide this information.