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SOC101: Principles of Sociology (Online - Avedkian): Web Resources

Researching Internet Resources

Recommended Internet Resources

Statistics Resources

Website Evaluation

While conducting research on the web, it is imperative to evaluate the website in question for authority, documentation, currency, and bias.  Doing so will ensure that you are using the most credible information possible to support your thesis.

Authority and Accuracy

Who produced the site?  Are they a credible source?  What is the purpose of the site?  Why was it created?  Is the person, organization, or group qualified to write this content?  What is the domain of the URL?

  • .com or.biz - a business or commercial website
  • .edu - an educational institution
  • .gov or .mil - a U.S. military or government website
  • .net - a personal website
  • .org - a website for a not-for-profit organization

Documentation

Is there adequate documentation for factual statements?  Is the documentation reliable, verifiable from a second source? Is there enough information to cite this information in a paper (author, title, source, date)?

Currency

Is the information up to date?  When was it created, or last edited?  Are the links up to date or dead?  Is the author using outdated statistics?

Objectivity and Bias

Is the document biased or slanted?  Are there few or no logical errors such as appeal to authority or circular reasoning?  If you found this information a printed source, would you trust it?

Use Fact Checkers

Fact checkers research news stories and other information found on the internet to determine their accuracy. If you're not sure whether the information you found is accurate, try searching these fact checking websites to see what they say about it:

  • FactCheck.org A nonpartisan, nonprofit “consumer advocate” for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics by monitoring the factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players in the form of TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews and news releases.
  • PolitiFact A Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checking website that rates the accuracy of claims by elected officials and others who speak up in American politics.
  • Snopes.com A website that researches and determines the history and accuracy of internet rumors, urban legends, and other stories.
  • Washington Post Fact Checker A blog and newspaper column that determines the accuracy of the statements of political figures regarding important issues, and seeks to explain difficult issues, provide missing context, and provide analysis of efforts to obscure or shade the truth.