The Internet supplies mammoth amounts of material, some of it excellent and some not so good. You must make judgments about the validity and veracity of these materials. In addition to your common sense judgment, here are a few guidelines:
- Use the " edu " and " org " sites. Usually, these will, be domains developed by an educational instutition, such as Ohio State University, or by a professional organization, such as the American Psychological Association. The "gov" (government) and "mil" (military) sites usually have realiable materials. The "corn" (commercial) sites become suspect for several reasons: they are selling advertising space, they often charge you for access to their files, or they can be ISP sites (Internet Service Provider) which people pay to use and to post their "material." Although some ISP sites might have good information, they are usually no more reliable than vanity presses or want ads.
- Look for the professional affiliation of the writer , which you will find in the opening credits or in an Email address.
- Look for a bibliography that accompanies the article, which will indicate the scholarly nature of this writer's work.
- Usenet discussion groups offer valuable information at times, but some articles lack sound, fundamental reasoning or evidence to support the opinions.
- Treat Email messages as mail, not scholarly articles.
- Does the site give you hypertext links to other professional sites or to commercial sites? Links to other educational sites serve as a modem bibliography to more reliable sources. Links to commercial sites are often attempts to sell you something.