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SHB SOC130, 220 and 335 Research and Resources in Sociology: Finding web sites

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Some good sites to start with...

The library web page offers a list of Recommended Sites for a wide variety of subjects.  The links below should also lead you to helpful information.

The library v. the internet...

  • Scholarly content is not easy to find on the internet
  • Scholarly content on the internet is rarely free
  • Librarians collect scholarly content according to the research needs of its students
  • Librarians know how to efficiently access scholarly content 

The 5 W's on the Net

Evaluating internet information can be particularly tricky because the layout is different from a print source.  Important information for evaluation can appear in different places, often requiring clicking on two or more links.  Here are some helpful hints for web evaluation:

Who? is the author or publisher of the site? If you can't find a name on the page that you are on, check the "About us," "Contact us" or FAQ sections of the site.

What?  Look for information that indicates reliability. How is it presented?  Are sources cited? Try to identify the format of the information: is it an online newspaper, a blog, a scholarly article?

When? In addition to looking for a “last updated” notification, look for references to current information or events. Sometimes a site will have a “News” or “Media Release” section that will refer to dates. Numerous broken links are often a sign of age.

Where? What type of site is it?  Commercial, institutional, personal? Does the site contain advertisements?  The site’s domain often indicates where it is coming from. Not every .edu/.gov or .org site is guaranteed to be reliable. Generally speaking, however, those sites with domains indicating an educational, governmental or organizational entity will contain authentic information. 

Why? Is there an underlying purpose of the site? What is the word choice utilized in the site?  Do the words indicate particular values and opinions or are they more objective and neutral?