Using the Internet for Research

Problogger had an interesting article early this week: Why Writers and Bloggers Should Not Rely On The Internet

I cannot deny that the advice is smart. You never know if the information you are reading online is accurate. Relying solely on the internet for factual information is risky.

If it is your goal to present facts, you have to be able to sort through which sources are reputable and which ones are not. Depending on the source, it is more likely that incorrect, altered, or misinterpreted information will be found on the internet than on a print source. Then again, certain print sources are likely to have outdated or altered information.

The problem is that mistakes can be found anywhere, even in print. The only thing that writers and bloggers can do is cite their sources. It is virtually impossible to dig deep enough, even at the library, to find out where every so-called fact originated. It is best to cite experts, government publications, and interviews that you have conducted yourself. Otherwise, the only thing that writers can do is present the information that they were able to find and add a disclaimer saying, “according to this source…”

Personally, I do use the internet for a majority of my work. I do use books sometimes, and I try to verify the information that I find with websites that have some authority (experts, government websites, not websites that any user can edit). Honestly, you can’t trust everything you read, whether it is on the internet or in print. The internet simply makes it easier to come across second-hand information. I do my best to try and filter out information that has no support and I check several different sources to make sure that general information is widely accepted.

I can’t live at the library, so I have to use the internet for my work. There is no control for the amount of false information that is posted online on a daily basis. As a writer and blogger, the only thing I can do is point to someone else and say, “They said it before I did.” I write with the understanding that I could be wrong, but I wasn’t the first one to get it wrong. I try to dig deep enough so that I have a greater chance of being right, but no matter what, you can’t trust everything you read.

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  1. […] Using the Internet for Research […]


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