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Where is the first place you might go when you first decide to write a paper? What about where are you usually when you find a topic idea? If you said, "Google" or "Wikipedia" then, "Congratulations!" You do what most people do when they first get their paper. Going online and finding topic ideas or even some research in Wikipedia about your topic is completely normal. That being said, it's not the final place we go to research our papers. Use online popular sources to develop a topic idea and keywords and then go to the library's databases to find out more.
Evaluating the Reliability of Information Sources - Internet Sources in Particular
As most of you are aware, anyone can post anything on the Internet, either on a site, a blog, a forum through Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.). So how do you determine what sources will benefit your research, and what sources are best to ignore? We evaluate the information and determine its usefulness. So how do we evaluate information? Let's go through these questions:
How you located the site can give you a start on your evaluation of the site's validity as an academic resource.
Was it found via a search conducted through a search engine? Unlike library databases, the accuracy and/or quality of information located via a search engine will vary greatly. Look carefully!
Was it recommended by a faculty member or another reliable source? Generally, an indicator of reliability.
Was it cited in a scholarly or credible source? Generally, an indicator of reliability.
Was it a link from a reputable site? Generally, an indicator of reliability.
Think of this as "decoding" the URL, or Internet address. The origination of the site can provide indications of the site's mission or purpose. The most common domains are:
.org :An advocacy web site, such as a not-for-profit organization.
.com : A business or commercial site.
.net:A site from a network organization or an Internet service provider.;
.edu :A site affiliated with a higher education institution.
.gov: A federal government site.
.il.us :A state government site, this may also include public schools and community colleges.
.uk (United Kingdom) : A site originating in another country (as indicated by the 2 letter code).
~:The tilde usually indicates a personal page.
Look for information on the author of the site. On the Internet anyone can pose as an authority.
Is the author's name visible? Does the author have an affiliation with an organization or institution?
Does the author list his or her credentials? Are they relevant to the information presented?
Is there a mailing address or telephone number included, as well as an e-mail address?
There are no standards or controls on the accuracy of information available via the Internet.
The Internet can be used by anyone as a sounding board for their thoughts and opinions.
How accurate is the information presented? Are sources of factual information or statistics cited? Is there a bibliography included?
Compare the page to related sources, electronic or print, for assistance in determining accuracy.
Does the page exhibit a particular point of view or bias?
Is the site objective? Is there a reason the site is presenting a particular point of view on a topic?
Does the page contain advertising? This may impact the content of the information included.Look carefully to see if there is a relationship between the advertising and the content, or whether the advertising is simply providing financial support for the page.
This is both an indicator of the timeliness of the information and whether or not the page is actively maintained.
Is the information provided current?
When was the page created?
Are dates included for the last update or modification of the page?
Are the links current and functional?
The ease of use of a site and its ability to help you locate information you are looking for are examples of the site's functionality.
Is the site easy to navigate? Are options to return to the home page, tops of pages, etc., provided?
Great source of news about the environment. This is considered "scholarly" and "peer-reviewed" BUT many of the articles published are NOT original research articles. Make sure you are paying attention when using this as a source. Original Research articles will publish their sources.
Access World News is a comprehensive resource that includes a variety of news publications worldwide. These sources include major national and international newspapers, as well as local and regional titles as well as newswires, blogs, web-only content, videos, journals, magazines, transcripts and more.
Activating an LSU New York Times Account
1. Select the link above
2. Select from the search Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College - Baton Rouge, LA
3. Enter all of the requested information and use your LSU email on the registration form and click Sign Up.
4. Once you create your log-in credentials, you will be able to log in using nytimes.com.
5. Faculty and staff must register annually. Student access reflects the estimated graduation date.
Funding for LSU's New York Times access was provided by LSU Student Government and LSU Libraries
LSU Libraries is excited to announce that The Wall Street Journals premium digital products including WSJ online and smartphone and tablet apps are now available to all students and faculty. For over a century, WSJ has sustained a legacy of journalistic excellence and is the #1 most trusted newspaper for the 27th consecutive year, according to the Pew Research Center.
All users will need to create a user account.
Remote PC/Mobile access:
1. Click on the WSJ+ link
2. Login to MyLSU
3. Create an account using your LSU email address
4. Select account type
5. Agree to terms and hit create
6. Setup account preferences
7. Your account is now setup for access
Funding for LSU's Wall Street Journal access was provided by LSU Student Government and LSU Libraries