Starting with the Web . . .
Although many people first go to the Web for information, it is not always the best place for what you need.
Most information on the Web does not go through a review process.
Anyone can publish on the Web without passing the content through an editor. Pages might be written by an expert on the topic, a journalist, a disgruntled consumer or even a child.
Some information on the Web is not free.
Many Web pages are free to view, but some commercial sites will charge a fee to access their information.
Information on the Web is not organized.
Some directory services, like Yahoo, provide links to sites in subject lists. But there are too many Web pages for any single directory service to organize and index.
Most information on the Web is not comprehensive.
Rarely will you be able to use a search engine on the Web to collect information about your topic from earlier decades and different types of sources.
Most information on the Web is not permanent.
Some well-maintained sites are updated with very current information, but other sites may become quickly dated or disappear altogether without much if any notice.
The Web can be a good research source for
- learning more about companies and organizations
- information from the U.S. government
- finding quick facts
- catching up with current news
- gathering opinions of people
- and connecting to library resources
The Web is a good tool for finding information, but it is usually not the best place to begin academic research.