Quick Database Links:
A branch of Webber International UniversityIn their own words...
Quick Database Links:
- The Internet is:
Any kind/type of material Prepared by anybody Dumped in a big pile Without ANY overall organization
The Internet contains millions of pages of information created by a variety of sources: government agencies, professional and nonprofit organizations, for-profit companies, and individuals.
There is no oversight of the content placed on the Internet the way there is when a book or a journal is published. Many Internet sources are reliable and useful, but the internet also contains information that is inaccurate, incomplete, outdated or offensive.
Know what's out there, what is available
It is not true that "everything is on the Internet" and "everything there is free," so printed materials are no longer necessary.
Some items you won't find are:
Journal articles found in subscription-only databases (such as NC LIVE).
Materials from most books, especially those that are older, are not classics, and are not in the public domain. Efforts to digitize books and to provide new books in online format are growing, but still only a tiny portion of books available in print are available online.
Newspaper articles that are older-from 6 months to a year. These are available in newspapers archives on a for-pay basis.
Determine the appropriate search tools
There are a number of ways to find web sites. The section below on Internet Search Tools describes them. It is important to understand that you may find a lot of related web sites when searching using Google, Alta Vista or the "search " functions on other web sites. However, the web sites you find may not support your research efforts by providing scholarly information.
Match your need with the appropriate tool
If you need professionally refereed journal articles or primary research:
Use the academic journal databases the Library provides: NCLIVE (Academic Search Premier, MasterFile Premier, Psyc Info) and Proquest Psyc Journals and PsycARTICLES .
Be sure to limit your search to "scholarly" or "refereed" journals.
Don't use search engines. They usually do not retrieve journals.
Can you use consumer-oriented materials?
If you can use non-scholarly journals articles, use NC LIVE.
If you can use web sites, search one of the subject directories listed in the Internet Search Tools section.
Does your project require graphics, audio or some other format than text?
Use a search engine with a capability of searching by format.
Use WorldCat on NC LIVE and search for materials in format other than print.
Do you want to buy something or do you just want to play?
Use a search engine to find the web sites of stores and businesses.
Use a search engine to find the kind of entertainment you're looking for.
Your use of the Internet carries with it the responsibility to evaluate the quality of information accessed. Use CARS checklist to determine if the web sites you've found are worthwhile to use for your research.
(an easy acronym to remember)
1. CREDIBILITY Can you trust this site?
- Who is the Author? (names, contact information, credentials, education, experience, background, reputation among peers)
- What organization sponsors this site? - known and respected corporate, government, or non-profit?
- What domain names are used? (Domain names are sometimes an indicator of authority-.gov, .edu, .org, .com)
- What evidence is there of Quality Control?
Look out for poor grammar and anonymity.
2. ACCURACY Is this information correct, exact, comprehensive, and up to date?
- Check the date the site was updated.
- Who is the site intended for?
- What is the goal or purpose?
Look out for no date or old dates.
3. REASONABLENESS Is the information fair, balanced, objective, and correct?
- Is the information one sided or slanted?
- Is it objective and consistent?
- Is there a conflict of interest? (What is the purpose of the site?)
Look out for tone of language ("stupid jerks") and sweeping statements.
4. SUPPORT Does this site indicate sources of support for its information?
- Where do statistics come from?
- What documentation of sources is included?
- Is there a bibliography or links to other related sources?
- Is there a contact listed?
Look out for statistics with no sources and absence of documentation.
Harris, Robert. A Guidebook to the Web.
Guilford, CT: McGraw-Hill,2000
(Used by permission)
Search engines are programs that search web pages and index them, creating giant databases.
They are useful to use when you have a lot of time to search a lot of information. The more you learn about how to search each one efficiently, the better your results will be and the less time you'll have to spend sorting through the many, many web sites you'll find.
Metasearch engines are programs that search the databases that search engines have already created.
These are best to use in a pinch or to get started when you are in a hurry. They will search in multiple places and they will show you which search engines have the most citations. However, they have major limitations. They omit some of the major search engines, and they only touch a minor portion of the contents of the databases they search.
Also called Portals or Gateways
Subject directories are databases created by us humans, generally professionals, who establish criteria for choosing sites to add, and who organize the listing of the sites.
These are the tools to use as you begin researching topics. You will find sites that are relevant to your topic and ones that you can be sure are credible sites.
BE SURE TO USE THE SEARCH BOX provided by the subject directories rather than browsing through the categories.