Contributor: Melissa Kowalski. Lesson ID: 11928
The newest, most exciting and possibly least-reliable source of information is the Internet. There are few rules and checks and balances so learn to evaluate and properly cite what you find out there!
You've probably heard this bit of piffle before: "If it's on the Internet, it must be true!" While this may be true of our lessons, if you intend to use the Internet for research, how do you determine if a source is reliable?
Web pages are a relatively recent — but rapidly expanding — part of research.
In order to use a web page as part of your research, you must determine if it is a reliable or credible source. Determining if a web page is credible is more difficult than deciding if a print source is reliable because most, but not all, print sources are reviewed by the editors of the publication prior to printing the book or article.
Anyone can create a web page, so it is important to determine if a web page is from an established, reputable organization or writer. To review how to assess a source's credibility, watch How to Know If a Source is Reliable by Shmoop. If the video contains new information for you, take notes on the methods for evaluating the credibility of a source:
Once you've established that a web page is credible, based on the organization publishing it, the author writing it, or the agency sponsoring it, you need to know how to cite the source.
Sometimes, you will find online articles, such as a newspaper article on the website of the New York Times. When you find online articles that have print counterparts, you cite them the same way you would cite the print article, but you just add the URL (web address) at the end of the citation.
Web pages are different from online articles because they do not have print counterparts. Web pages follow many of the same citation conventions as books and print articles, but there are some variations due to the fact that they are digital sources.
To learn how to cite a web page, print the APA Web Page Citations handout found in Downloadable Resources in the right-hand sidebar. After you've read the handout and studied the web page citations, answer the following questions without looking at the handout:
Move on to the Got It? section to check your answers and get some practice with citing a web page.
Resources Referenced in the Lesson