If your resource is a website, it is important to remember that there are two parts of the Internet.
1) The Public Part = World Wide Web = NO Quality Control
2) Private = Fee-based Resources (such as library databases) = Quality Control Process
Keeping that in mind - remember, it's not always wrong to use an open website in your research but before you do, you need to determine if it is credible. Think about the resource you are considering - here is one tool you can use:
C - Currency: When was the page created? Or when was the article or book published ? If it is a website, are the links still active? Given your topic, how recent do your resouces have to be?
A – Authority: Who is the author? What are the author's credentials? If it is a website, what is the domain name for the site? (e.g. .edu; or .gov) If it is in print, is it from a reputable publisher? (e.g. a University Press)
B – Bias: What is the purpose of the resource? Is there a position/opinion presented? If it is a website, what types of sites are being linked to it? Are they random or well-known sites? If it is a print resource, who are the advertisers?
L - Level: Do you feel comfortable using this site for a college-level assignment? Is the site popular or academic?
E - Exploration: Verify the information in other sources. You are reading a lot on your topic, and soon you will be able to identify certain universal ideas and trends in your area of research. Match what you have learned against the resources you are conisering - Does it jive with what you have been reading?
! - Is the resource available in time for it to be properly read and incorporated into your paper?
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