Searching for and evaluating information found on the Internet is a survival skill students must have in order to succeed. There are right and wrong ways to search for and use information from the Internet. Use the tips on this page to guide your research.
Online information generally falls into two categories:
Sites on the Open Web, while easy to find, must be carefully evaluated for things like accuracy, authority, currency, etc. When your professors indicate that you should not use information from the Internet for your research, they are usually referring to the Open Web.
The library's subscription databases such as EbscoHost, Proquest, and JSTOR are a part of the Hidden Web that is available to Mesa students 24/7. The articles in these sources are from reputable magazines and journals, many of them scholarly and peer-reviewed.
Google Scholar is a mix of the two. While anyone can get a list of scholarly resources, most can only be accessed if your school or public library subscribes to the journal or database and you must login with an ID or barcode number.
Consider the numbers for a search for scholarly articles on the health effects of smoking
Wikipedia can be a good source for quick lookups and background information but should not be used as a source for academic research. Because anyone can contribute or edit articles, at any given time articles may not be accurate or unbiased.
The following statement is from the Wikipedia page "Researching With Wikipedia":
" You should not use Wikipedia by itself for primary research (unless you are writing a paper about Wikipedia)."
Click on the link below for a tutorial on finding and evaluating scholarly online literature. (Tutorial produced by the University of California Libraries)