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Stony Brook University

Student Athlete Research Guide: Evaluating Internet Sources

This guide will offer our student athletes at Stony Brook University tips on research, time management, and many of the services available to them at SBU Libraries.

Internet Sources

The Internet contains so much information that it's a needed tool nowadays for most research purposes. As a scholar, you need to be able to differentiate the reputable information that you find on the Internet from the commercial and/or open-access websites that may not be trustworthy for academic projects.

 

Use the Internet to find:

  • current information
  • government information
  • company and corporate information
  • information from professional organizations
  • personal and expert opinions

Find websites using a search engine like Google or Yahoo!

 

SCOPE it Out

The SCOPE Evaluation method is used to help researchers determine whether an Internet source (or any source for that matter) is scholarly or not. Whenever you come across a new website or a source that may lack credibility, make sure to SCOPE it out.

S

Source: Where is this information coming from?

  • Have you heard of the person, organization, or school that has posted this material?
  • Is the source of the material reputable for the topic at hand?
  • What type of website are you accessing? .com vs. .edu, .gov, .org

C

Currency: Is the website or document out of date?

  • What was the publication date of the article?
  • How recently was the web page updated?
  • Is there a date provided?

O

Objectivity: Is this information biased in anyway?

  • Does the point of view appear objective, unbiased and impartial?
  • Is the information coming from a source or group with a specific agenda?
  • Is the website designed in a way to influence opinion?

P

Purpose: Why did the author publish/create this information?

  • Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?
  • Is there an "About Us" page? What does it state?
  • Do the creators have the authority to be writing on this topic?

E

Erorr-free: Is the article or website presented in a professional manner?

  • Are there spelling, grammar, or other typographical errors?
  • Are the links current?
  • Is there contact information present?

Search the Web!

Search Tips

Be Specific

  • Use nouns and unique words
  • Put the most important words first
  • Use multiple terms when possible

For example, if you were interested in "bias in newspapers" you could search for: 
newspapers bias slant censorship journalism

Use Descriptive Words

Use words that describe the kind of information you want to help narrow your results

For example, use words like policy or research to find sites that might be more scholarly, or words like controversy, debate, or issue to find sites that cover both sides of an issue.

Use Quotes for Phrase Searches

Many search engines will then search for the words as a phrase not as separate words

For example, "world health organization"

Use Connectors

Check the search engine's help feature to discover what connectors it supports and how to enter them.