Research on the web takes skills in strategic searching and critical evaluation of results. Use the evaluation tips provided to get started. The handout below offers some suggestions for focused searching.
Lead federal agency for research on mental disorders. NIMH is one of the 27 Institutes and Centers that make up the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the nation’s medical research agency. NIH is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
"The world’s first multidisciplinary Open Access journal, PLOS ONE accepts scientifically rigorous research, regardless of novelty. PLOS ONE features reports of original research from all disciplines within science and medicine. By not excluding research on the basis of subject area, PLOS ONE facilitates the discovery of connections between research whether within or between disciplines."
"APA is the leading scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States. Our mission is to advance the creation, communication and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve people's lives. APA's…staff members track trends in the field of psychology; create content to educate the public about mental health, behavior and psychology's scientific basis; publish peer-reviewed journals, books and other products."
This page was written to help researchers who want to measure the Big Five as part of their research programs. If you came across this page out of curiosity about your own personality, you can fill out a free questionnaire and get instant, personalized feedback at www.outofservice.com. Two longer versions, offering more detailed feedback, are available from John Johnson’s webpage.)
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
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)?
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?