Contrary to popular belief, not everything can be found on the Internet. However, quite a lot of good information can be. As with all information gathering, it is important to evaluate the information you find before deciding to use it.
The end of the URL (Internet address) can tell you a lot about where the page comes from. ‘.gov’ and ‘.edu’ are from government and educational bodies respectively. These organisations often have better quality control than some ‘.com’ sites. Look for official industry bodies and respected community organisations ahead of “Joe Blogg’s page on…”
Some useful questions to ask yourself are:
Google Scholar is a part of Google that allows you to focus your search on more academic resources. It will allow you to search banks of free online magazine articles and books for information. To get Google Scholar click the ‘more’ button at the top of a normal Google search page and select ‘scholar’.
A word on Wikipedia
Wikipedia is written by all sorts of people around the world. Anyone can write and change whatever they want in Wikipedia (to a point), which means that personal bias and incorrect information can often be found. However, it can be a useful place to start research, to get an overview of a topic and some further references. It is not recommended that you directly use anything you find on Wikipedia in an assignment, but the ‘further reading’ part at the bottom of each page can give you ideas of other places to look for information. Feel free to use Wikipedia, but use it with caution!