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Making the Most of Web 2.0 (Reboot): Introduction

Yes, you can sometimes make the sites you surf on the web part of your research. This guide explains how.


Making the Most of Web 2.0 -- Introduction

The internet you surf on your personal device and through social media seems completely different than library's databases. yet social media, newsleters/blogs/image sites, and news sites (often apps) have a place in serious research.

Of course at their best, social and news media are credible rather than scholarly. If your professor asks you to use scholarly articles or if you have a topic where most information is in academic journals, library databases are the best place to begin your research. Many scholarly journals are subscription-only and paywalled. The library subscribes to these journals and gives you access.

Social and news media, however, can be great for research that includes:

  • Recent current events.
  • Local (Atlanta area) news.
  • Lived experience
  • Persons or corporations with a web presence.

Web site or social media posts by a person or company you are studying are primary sources, and valuable even when the sources lie.

The Web 2.0 Challenge

Research on the open web is more challenging than just looking for items in library databases.

  • Web 2.0 is doesn't always have adequate quality control.
  • There are no databases that group items together by subject.
  • Paywalls mean that accessing articles takes work.

Fortunately, you can find and evaluate credible material on the web by following the four part process outlined in this guide. And you don't have to know anything about your subject to make it work!

Diagram of strategy for working with Web 2.0 information