Research and Citation Tips

Research goes a lot further than simply 'Googling' a topic and copying down information for your projects.

It is important to evaluate the web content you are using, to ensure it is a reliable source of information. Wikipedia may not be considered a valid source, since anyone can edit its content. It is however an excellent starting point, as the articles give you search terms that you can apply to your research strategy.

Apply these steps when deciding whether to use a web source for your research:

1. Authority with regard to topic-who is responsible for the site?

  • Author of site (individual/institutional affiliation, organization)
  • Credentials, expertise, experience
  • Contact information (name, e-mail, postal address)
  • URL type suggest reputable affiliation (.edu=educational institution; .org=non-profit organization; .com=commercial enterprise; .net=Internet Service Provider; .gov=governmental body; .mil=military)

2. Objectivity-is the purpose of the site clear, including any particular viewpoint?

  • Statement of purpose/scope
  • Intended audience
  • Information presented as factual or opinion, primary or secondary in origin
  • Criteria for inclusion of information
  • Disclosure of sponsorship or underwriting

3. Accuracy-is the information accurate?

  • Facts documented or well-researched
  • Facts compare to related print or other online sources
  • Links provided to quality Web resources

4. Currency-is the information current?

  • Evidence of current content
  • Pages date-stamped with latest update

5. Usability-is the site well-designed and stable?

  • Site organization logical and easy to manoeuvre
  • Content readable by intended audience
  • Information presented is error-free (spelling, punctuation)
  • Readily identifiable link back to the institutional or organizational home page
  • Site reliably accessible
  • Pages loaded quickly

When you use any idea in a project or paper that is not your own, you need to cite your work. This means that you need to give credit to the person whose idea you are using.

Visit the following webpage for an excellent overview of writing, research and citation tips. There are a number of different styles to cite your work, so check with your teacher to see which style they wish you to use.

Online Writing Lab

If you need any assistance with research or citation, Ms. Tamosetis is always available in the library to help you!