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RSCH 1203 Basic: The Internet

This guide will assist students as they complete the assignments for Research 1203.


Image source: School of Journalism and Communication, University of Carolina at Chapel Hill. According to the above source: "This cartoon by Peter Steiner has been reproduced from page 61 of July 5, 1993 issue of The New Yorker, (Vol.69 (LXIX) no. 20) only for academic discussion, evaluation, and research, [and] complies with the copyright law of the United States as defined and stipulated under Title 17 U. S. Code.


These domains will be more likely to contain reliable information:

.gov = government sites which often have statistics and articles produced with funding from your tax dollars.  These are not free of bias, depending on those currently managing the site.

.edu = educational institutions. Level of expertise is uneven ranging from the latest paper of a PhD in Organizational Behavior to a book report by a 9th grader.

.org = organizations, sometimes professional organizations. Many have articles and links to work done in their group.

Web Evaluation


Using the Internet for academic purposes is far different than seeking entertainment or commercial websites.  For a site to be acceptable on assignments, be sure it passes the test in each of these areas.


  • Does the information build on/cite other information sources?
  • Can you verify the information in another source?
  • How does the information compare with what you already know?
  • Most other criteria also have to do with accuracy!


  • Is the author identified?
  • Does the author have expertise in the area?
  • Is contact information given?


  • What goals/objectives does this page meet?  Is it to inform/instruct or persuade/sell?
  • What opinions (if any) are expressed by the author?
  • Are other viewpoints acknowledged?
  • Who sponsors the information?


  • When was it produced?
  • When was it updated?
  • How up-to-date are the sources cited?
  • How up-to-date are the links (if any)?
  • Dead links are a sign of neglect


  • Is it all images or a balance of text and images?
  • Is the page/site organized in a useful way?
  • On topic?
  • Appropriate scope?
  • How detailed is the information?