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College-wide Composition 1 Research Guide

Research guide for ENC 1101 - Composition 1

When to use the Internet for research


There are times when the Internet will have the best information for your research. Information from the Internet can be more recent and sometimes includes information that your library cannot provide. Examples include:

  • Patent and trademark information
  • Primary sources, such as digitized versions of artwork or documents
  • Organizational websites, such as professional societies (i.e. American Bar Association)
  • Company information, such as data from the Securities and Exchange Commission
  • Access to government information, such as the latest changes to Congressional legislation at www.thomas.gov or the National Institute of Health
  • Current events, images from the Associated Press or facts about a natural disaster

While the Internet has an enormous range of available information, unlike a library, there is no one assessing the information for you.  It's up to you to evaluate what you see online.  You will have to determine which information is true, accurate, complete, unbiased, and up-to-date.

Paid advertisers on search engines have bid on the keywords that you type in, hoping for you to click on their link. The search engine makes money when you do that. The free results are just web pages that come up because your words match something on that page. General search results are problematic for your academic needs; there is no way to know if such sites contain credible information until you evaluate them.