The World Wide Web can be a great place to accomplish research on many topics. But putting documents or pages on the web is easy, cheap or free, unregulated, and unmonitored.
• Documents can easily be copied and falsified or copied with omissions and errors -- intentional or accidental.
• In the general World Wide Web there are no editors (unlike most print publications) to proofread and "send it back" or "reject it" until it meets the standards of a publishing house's reputation.
• Most pages found in general search engines for the web are self-published or published by businesses small and large with motives to get you to buy something or believe a point of view.
• Even within university and library web sites, there can be many pages that the institution does not try to oversee.
The web needs to be free like that! And you, if you want to use it for serious research, need to cultivate the habit of healthy skepticism, of questioning everything you find with critical thinking.Therein lies the rationale for evaluating carefully whatever you find on the Web.
The burden is on you - the reader - to establish the validity, authorship, timeliness, and integrity of what you find.
This guide is adapted from a libguide created by librarians at the George A. Spiva Library at MIssissippi Southern State University.