What are these?
With the lack of quality control on the web, you will often encounter inaccurate information. One way of ensuring the quality of your sources is to use those that have been judged as suitable by a trusted authority.
Sources you will find via the routes described below:
- have been compiled by universities, or
- use traditional publishing accreditation processes such as peer review, or
- are the result of schemes to make traditional print-based media available online.
As with all the information sources you use, you should still use the ideas outlined in the Assessing information screen (in the course induction) to make your own judgements about the sources you find.
"Google Scholar provides a simple way to broadly search for scholarly literature. From one place, you can search across many disciplines and sources: peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, abstracts and articles, from academic publishers, professional societies, preprint repositories, universities and other scholarly organizations. Google Scholar helps you identify the most relevant research across the world of scholarly research."
"Intute is a free online service providing you with access to the very best Web resources for education and research. The service is created by a network of UK universities and partners. Subject specialists select and evaluate the websites in our database and write high quality descriptions of the resources."
Oxford Reference Online
Available to students on the online short courses through their course homepage. "Oxford Reference Online is a huge and comprehensive resource that contains over 120 dictionaries and reference titles covering the complete subject spectrum: from General Reference and Language to Science and Medicine, and from Humanities and Social Sciences to Business and Professional."
Directory of Open Access Journals
"This service covers free, full text, quality controlled scientific and scholarly journals".
There are a growing number of schemes to make the full text of books available online. The following are some of the largest sources:
A note about Wikipedia
For many web users Wikipedia is the first place to go to for information about almost anything. Wikipedia makes use of technology that enables all users to contribute or edit content, and it contains information on a huge range of topics. However, because content can be contributed, or changed, by anyone at any time, it should not be regarded as an authoritative source. It is safest to think of Wikipedia as 'work in progress', and it is always advisable to corroborate any information found there from an additional, authoritative source. Wikipedia articles should contain lists of references, and that's a good place to start - following up those references will help to put the Wikipedia article in context. For more information about using Wikipedia for research see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:About#Using_Wikipedia_as_a_research_tool.