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Research Process: Exploring and Evaluating Web Resources

an introduction to the research process at a very basic level

Exploring and Evaluating Web Resources

Blogs, popular news and magazines, feeds and alerts, open access and wikis can be your initial starting point for topic ideas and information. These informal channels of information can help you stay current and informed about your research area.

Use keywords such as: trending news, recent research, controversial issues and other relevant terms to locate recent news.

Remember: NOT everything you find on the Internet is appropriate to use as a resource in your research. Using the Internet to find academic information takes a lot of hard work to carefully evaluate the good from the bad.

Why evaluate? anyone can publish a website on any topic, and there are many hoax websites. More crucially, websites have not undertaken a review process for inclusion in a collection, while the Library’s Electronic Resources have.

Many websites are biased, inaccurate or outdated. Therefore, you must criticize and analyze information acquired from websites. 

Evaluation criteria 

  1. Accuracy
  • Who is the author? can you contact him/her?
  • why was the document produced?
  • What are the author qualifications?
  1. Authority
  • Who published the material?
  • Are the author affiliations listed?
  • What institution published this document? Where?
  1. Objectivity
  • What objectives does this page meet?
  • How detailed is the information?
  • What opinions are expressed by the author?
  1. Currency
  • When was it published?
  • When was the last updated?
  • How up-to-date are the links? Are there dead links?
  • Is the page content outdated?

Web Resources

Search engines are useful for finding information from organizations, personal web pages or groups. Consistent internet resources may include governmental reports, conference proceedings, professional standards, scientific reports, news articles... However, using an internet search engine may give a great number of results.

Google Web Search

Google Web is the most used search engine. To limit your searches from the beginning, you may use the advanced search Google Advanced.

Google Scholar Search

Google Scholar is a reliable source for locating scholarly resources on the web. To access Advanced Search, click on the three horizontal bars on the left-hand side.

Many scholarly journals and researchers are choosing to make their publications available online for free Such as:

DOAJ is a community-curated online directory that indexes and provides access to high quality, open access, peer-reviewed journals.

Arabic Collections Online (ACO) is a publicly available digital library of public domain Arabic language content.

CORE is the world’s largest collection of open access research papers.

Domain names are a good starting point to identify the nature of particular websites.

If a website ends with .org, .gov, or .edu, it is more likely to be a scholarly source. If it ends with .com or .net, it is less likely to be a scholarly source. Click here for a comprehensive list of domain suffixes.

How to limit Domain within Google?

Go to site or domain box in Google's Advanced Search options and enter the domain you'd like to search, as shown below.

alt="Google Advanced Search"

Or add site:.edu (or .org, .gov, etc.) to the end of your search terms in any simple Google search box. For example, to find articles about “social distancing” published in government websites, enter the terms "social distancing" site:.gov, as shown below.

alt="search site domain"

Source: Google Web