Friday, October 07, 2005

Research Tip: Searching Is Just the Beginning

With the wealth of information on the internet today, some researchers are tempted to type a word or two into a well-known search engine and rely on the top few items retrieved. But running a search, even assuming you have run a perfect search using the correct tools, is only the beginning. You have to read and analyze what you found. And before you spend much of your limited time reading what you find, you need to evaluate the quality of the information, so you don't waste valuable time reading something that is not current, accurate, and reliable.

If you are doing legal research, you must use a citator such as Shepard's or KeyCite to be sure that your cases, statutes, and other authorities are still good law. Evaluating information that you found on the internet may be trickier. The Virtual Chase's section on Evaluating the Quality of Information on the Internet can help you to evaluate online information. The site includes easy-to-use checklists on quality criteria, evaluation strategies, and anecdotal evidence of bad information found on the internet.

For other helpful sites, visit the SIU Law Library's page on Evaluating and Rating Web Sites and Other Information Resources.

Archive of Research Tips.

No comments: