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Dixon Hendry Library Collection: Websites

This guide is intended to help students attending the Dixon Hendry Campus access IRSC library services.

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 encyclopaedia 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!


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:

  • Who is responsible for this page or website? Can you find the name of an author, publisher, and/or sponsor? Look for an "About" or "About Us" link.
  • Why is this information here? What is the motivation of the author? Is it to sell, persuade, educate, or inform the reader? The domain name may offer a clue.  A ".com" website usually has services or goods for sale. Goverment (.gov) and educational (.edu) websites can be safer choices for academic research.
  • When was the site last updated? Is there a date on the document you are evaluating? A credible web page should provide this information.
  • What type of content does this web document contain? Is it an advertisement, a discussion, an opinion, or a scholarly article or essay? Is it part of a print publication? Are references or links provided to help you independently verify the information? 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.

What is Scholarly?

When your instructor asks you to find "scholarly" articles, what does that mean?

What is NOT Scholarly?