Don’t be led astray when researching on the Internet

You have to research Einstein’s life for a school paper. You need to check out the history of your company’s biggest competitor. The Internet is there for you. After all, the online world is full of just about any stat, study and research paper that you’ll will need to learn more about any subject imaginable. But exactly how do you know that the information you are finding online is actually true? Online research is convenient, having said that the Internet is also full of half-truths and outright lies. Fortunately, the Lifehacker Web site has come up with several useful tips for doing accurate research online.

Is that a bias?

No one is free from bias. Everybody has their own strong beliefs. These views, though, can alter our online research. That’s why, Lifehacker recommends that researchers first recognize their own biases before conducting online research. For instance, if you believe that life starts at conception, you may not be willing to acknowledge studies or opinion pieces taking the opposite side. This can ruin your online research before you even start. Be sure, then, to take what Lifehacker calls your confirmation bias into account before you commence scanning the Internet for your research.

Bad information

Lifehacker points to inadequately cited articles as a big trap for online researchers. Unfortunately, the Internet is packed with “research” that isn’t very methodical in nature. Seek out articles that are highly sourced and that come from respected journals, magazines or newspapers. You can generally rely on medical journals and government reports, as well, with regards to online research.

Scholarly searches

Google, Bing and Yahoo! are fine search engines for the beginning stages of your research. Nevertheless, if you need to get in-depth, you’ll need to use more customized search engines. Fortunately, there are plenty to choose from. Try such engines as PLOS, Scirus, Google Scholar or The U.S. Library of Congress. You might be amazed at the information that’s out there.

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