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*SOCI 4226 Urban Sociology (Undergrad level) - HOLLAND: Smart

Finding detailed, city-specific information for non-Western metropolitan areas can be a real challenge. This guide offers some tools and strategies for tackling this research question.

Googling - Domain Limiting

Googling more sophisticatedly:

  • Limit to .org sites - search will only return organizational websites/documents - typically better than .com, *BUT* remember to evaluate the information for bias, accuracy, etc.  Wikipedia is a .org site, but...

  • Limit to .gov sites - U.S. governmental sites/documents - fairly reliable stuff, *BUT* still evaluate it!

  • Limit to the country domain - search only within sites with that country's domain, *BUT* still have to evaluate, and may not be in English.

"Wikipedia is not an acceptable source for this project..."

Because anyone can add or change content, there is an inherent lack of reliability and stability to Wikipedia. Authors of articles may not necessarily be experts on the topics they write about, leaving a lot of room for errors, misinformation, and bias.

The founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales, has recently stressed that Wikipedia may not be suitable for academic uses, saying, "It is pretty good, but you have to be careful with it. It's good enough knowledge, depending on what your purpose is."

How might I use Wikipedia for this research assignment?

Background information: When writing about a topic you're not familiar with, Wikipedia is useful for background, overviews, important terms and concepts.

More sources: All Wikipedia entries end with bibliographies of additional sources. These usually include more authoritative sources like books and journal articles that you can find in the library or online. This can be a great way to start identifying sources for your paper.

[Content excerpted from here and here.]