Remember to evaluate the information you find when searching the Internet. Not all Internet sites are trustworthy or appropriate to use as research sources. If you have any concerns about the credibility of an Internet site, consult your instructor or a librarian for evaluation assistance.
Some points to consider as you critically evaluate an Internet source:
Authority: Who created the site? What are their credentials? What is the author's expertise in relation to the source's subject? Did the author create the information or get it from elsewhere?
Accuracy: Compare the information to that found elsewhere, including sources not found on the Internet. Are sources given for where the site's information was obtained? Does the author use only a couple of sources or a more adequate number? Do the links connect to authoritative and relevant sources? What evidence is given to support or prove the points made?
Objectivity: What is the author's purpose: informational, explanatory, persuasion, or salesmanship? Check for signs of bias. Do the links go only to material on the same site? Does an emotional connection to the material's subject prevent you from being able to evaluate the site objectively?
Currency: Check for the dates the site was created and/or revised. Do the links in the site still work? Compared to the information you find in other sources, is the Internet site up to date? Check the publication dates of sources listed in the site's bibliography.
Coverage: Does the Internet source sufficiently cover the topic? What level of detail is provided?
Functionality and Professionalism: Is the Internet site well organized? Is the site easy to navigate and use? Is the material well written and without grammar and spelling errors?
Audience: For what group of users has the site been created? Is the writing style suitable for that group? Would information provided for that group be appropriate to use in your research?
For Further Information: Take a look at this document.
The American Sociological Association (ASA) is the national organization for sociologists. Below are links to information on the ASA website that may be of interest to you. However, there is even more information included in the ASA website itself.
The About ASA page includes not only the association's mission, constitution, and history, but it also defines what sociology is and states the field's professional ethics code.