BY THOMAS RHEINECKER
Searching the internet for information is a tricky business. There are countless resources out there but there is not a lot to govern the quality or accuracy of the information that you find. A web site may look genuine but may still contain inaccurate information.
This is even more important when you are using the web to conduct scientific research or to look up information to support any stage of a research project. Inaccurate information could invalidate your research and leave you with useless results. You will have wasted time, energy, and not have furthered the quest for knowledge as you had originally anticipated. So how do you find authoritative web resources for scientific research?
Check Your Sources
Where your information is coming from is the best way to tell if it is valid. While sources with fewer credentials can be right, you have better odds of finding accurate information when facts come from an expert in the field. Reputation is a good indicator of the quality of the information that you can get from a source. If information comes from a well-respected authority in a particular field then it is probably accurate.
Check The Date
Even information from a reliable source can be out of date. While many facts stand the test of time, when it comes to scientific information new research and knowledge often leaves old studies either useless or just not as current as you want your information to be. Many sites can hang around on the internet long after their useful lives so you need to look into this. Information that is a year old may not be of as much help to you as information that is only a month old. Remember that.
Find Collections Of Reliable Sources
It is time consuming to evaluate every source that you seek out, but it has to be done. Still, you can cut down on this time if you use a web site that had gathered reliable sources for you to peruse. While you will still want to check for yourself for the sake of your research, this step can keep you from running into too many sites that are simply unusable.
One such site is called Intute. It gives you what it refers to as the very best resources for scientific research and for educational purposes. The sites that are added to this site are inspected and judged before they make it on to the Intute site so that you have less work to do. Aside from gathering a number of high quality resources for you to use all in one place, this type of screening process also cuts down on the spam interruptions that one often finds when surfing the web.
Authoritative web resources for scientific research can be found, but you must be careful. Your research is too important to be undermined by utilizing a bad source along the way. Luckily, there are steps you can take. You can check your sources, check the date the site was published or updated, and you can utilize sites like Intute that gather quality sites for you. These are some easy ways to help ensure that every web resource you use will be of the highest quality.
Thomas Rheinecker is a freelance author and writes about medical career topics, such as how to select among ultrasound technician schools, tips for job advancement, and more.
Photo credit: dsevilla on Flickr.