Research does not only involve finding sources, it also involves evaluating sources. No source should be used just because one finds it. Analyzing and evaluating sources and the information they contain is an essential part of the research process. Every source (including this one) needs to be analyzed and evaluated to make sure it is appropriate and trustworthy.
The two main points one needs to analyze are the reliability of the source and the validity of the content. For the reliability of the source, researchers need to judge whether the author and the type of source can be trusted to provide good information. To judge the validity of the content, one needs to analyze if what the source is saying is correct and appropriate. These concepts can be applied to both print sources and electronic sources. Below are some pointers and questions to consider when analyzing sources.
Unlike the Internet, most print sources have gone through some evaluation before they have been published. Most of the sources accessed through the Library's homepage are electronic versions of print sources. The full-text articles one finds through the Library's Databases are the same as the articles found in the printed journal or magazine. So, although the many of the Library's resources can be accessed through the Internet, it is not the Internet per se. One still needs to evaluate the sources one finds through the Library's Databases, but one can evaluate those sources as print sources.
Evaluating Internet sources is harder then evaluating print resources. This is true for several reasons:
Therefore one needs to take extra precaution when using information found on the Internet. There is a lot of very good information located on the Internet, but there is also some suspect information and one needs to be able to judge the information that one finds and tell the difference between the good and the bad.