Some quick tips and things to consider when doing internet research.
Firstly - how do you look? Think about:
Search terms - try a range of key words or questions
When you get your search results:
Scan down the page looking at the sources. Choose which you think are worth investigating further.
Click on links:
When you reach a new page you will do a quick scan first - is the information understandable? At the appropriate level? Relevant? Does it seem trustworthy?
How do you know which websites are credible and reliable sources? Often you have to use your judgement.
Look at who owns or has written the page. If it's a commercial enterprise / company - be cautious. Why? If it's an individual - be cautious. Why?
Be suspicious of lots of commercial ads etc. Why?
When you write essays or reports in psychology you will need to reference your sources. There are good reasons to reference your sources properly. These include:
- It keeps your work accountable - if we can see where you found your information we can check you haven't directly copied it
- It acknowledges your sources - people have taken the time and trouble to write books, articles and websites so it's only fair we credit them when we use their stuff
- It's the 'proper', 'academic' thing to do. So just do it.
- You need to get used to doing it if you go on to further study at uni or polytech
Styles of Citing References
There are various different ways of citing references. Different universities and departments prefer particular methods. We don't mind which style you use as long as you choose one method and stick to it. You might want to find out which method your future university prefers and get into the habit of using that. If you take other subjects that require referencing you can use their method to maintain consistency. Here's some options:
APA (American Psychological Association)
MLA (Modern Language Association)
These two styles of referencing are actually very similar but you should choose one and use it consistently. The links will take to examples for citing books and websites and from there you can also find details on how to cite journal articles, newspapers, broadcasts etc.