The Internet is a great resource, but it is also a public forum, where anyone can make a claim or an assertion. If you find an article that provides relevant information for your research topic, you should take care to investigate the source to make sure it is valid and reliable. This is an essential step in maintaining sound research ethics. It is your responsibility as a researcher to find and use the trustworthy sources. There are several ways to investigate your source.
In most cases, you should stay away from Internet information that doesn't list an author. While the information you find may be true, it is more difficult to validate information if you don't know the credentials of the author.
If the author is named, you will want to find his/her web page to:
Verify educational credits
Discover if the writer is either published in a scholarly journal Verify that the writer is employed by a research institution or university URL
If the information is linked to an organization, try to determine the reliability of the sponsoring organization. One tip is the url ending. If the site name ends with .edu, it is most likely an educational institution. Even so, you should be aware of political bias.
If a site ends in .gov, it is most likely a reliable government web site. Government sites are usually good sources for statistics and objective reports.
Sites that end in .org are usually non-profit organizations. They can be very good sources or very poor sources, so you'll have to take care to research their possible agendas or political biases, if they exist.
For instance, collegeboard.org is the organization that provides the SAT and other tests. You can find valuable information, statistics, and advice on that site. PBS.org is a non-profit organization that provides educational public broadcasts. It provides a wealth of quality articles on its site.
Other sites with the .org ending are advocacy groups that are highly political in...
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