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Finding information on the internet is easy, but finding good quality and reliable information is trickier than you think. Take a look at the tips in this section on how to get the most out of searching online. Before using any web resource in your assignment ask yourself “Is the web page as good as the information you would find in a book or academic journal?”
Webpages can be set up by anyone, therefore before referencing a site check that the information is reliable and accurate.
- Who is the author? Do they have qualifications/a reputation in the relevant area?
- Is the web site affiliated with an organisation? If so, what is the mission of that organisation?
- Has the information been properly referenced? Are the references authoritative?
- When was the site last updated?
- Is there any reason for bias on this web site?
- Has the website been well presented in an appropriately academic style?
- Has anyone recommended this web site to you?
- Does the information match what you have learned from other sources?
Look for the clues in the URL
- .com – a commercial company
- .co.uk – a commercial UK company
- .edu – a US academic institution
- .ac.uk – a UK academic institution
- .org – a non-profit organisation
- .gov or .gov.uk – a US or UK government site
Are you struggling to find what you need on Google?
Here are some tips to improve your results!
Still not finding enough academic resources in Google?
Try using Google Scholar which only searches scholarly literature.
Government & Professional Bodies
There are many websites which you will find useful for your studies, I have listed some of the most popular ones below. Please let me know if there are other websites which you feel others may wish to know about and I will include them on this page.
Finding psychological tests, measures and research instruments can be quite tricky, you will find many articles citing research using scales but may find it difficult to source the scales themselves. This is because they are often commercially copyrighted and not available for use without payment or permission.
Google Scholar is Google's academic search engine. It allows you to search for information published in journals and books, for example. It includes an increasing amount on open access material as well content that you would have to pay to access.
Use Google Scholar alongside the many databases that the College subscribes to so you get relevant and accurate content.
Looking for a way to learn more about your subject area without reading? Consider listening to podcasts that may help to increase your knowledge.
Podcasts vary in quality, frequency and reliability, so make sure you evaluate them before using the information for an assignment.