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Biology 455: Evolution of Infectious Diseases: Searching the Internet

This guide supports the research for Dr. Rio's Evolution of Infectious Diseases class.

Internet Research Skepticism

The Internet is largely an uncontrolled mass of information.

Ask yourself, "Would my professor consider this a scholarly source?"

Look at every web site you are thinking of citing based on COALA

         Currency --  Is the information up to date? When was the last time it was updated? Be careful about trusting information you find on an old Web site.

         Objectivity -- What is the Web site's purpose? Is it solely to provide information or is it to sell a product or express an opinion? Is it biased? Are facts included?

         Authorship -- Is the person or company publishing the information reliable and trustworthy? What are this person's credentials? Can this person claim authority in that field?

         Layout -- Is it easy to find information on the Web site? Does the Web site have a lot of pop-up ads and distracting advertisements? Such tools can take away from a site's content.

         Accuracy -- Is the material correct? Are there any spelling or grammar mistakes? Has the information been edited and fact-checked? Are there any factual errors?


Adapted from: "Evaluating Online Sources."  World News Digest.  Facts On File News Services.  11 Aug. 2009  <>.


Google Scholar

To display the Find it @ WVU link on your personal computer, in GoogleScholar go to Settings/Library Links and type West Virginia University Libraries in the box.


Evaluating Web Resources

How reliable is the information found on the World Wide Web? To find out, Internet researchers can use these guidelines. Not every criteria must be met for a resource to be valuable, but more reliable sources are generally more accurate, authoritative, and current.

A quality resource contains current, accurate facts presented by an authoritative author whose bias or objectivity is clearly stated. The information presented fits your needs.

A poor choice for quality might contain outdated data or inaccurate assumptions presented by an unidentifiable author whose bias is unacknowledged. Even worse, the information presented is not suited to your needs.

Using Find It @ WVU

Use Find It @ WVU to retrieve the articles not in full text.

This link is included in each citation.

In the Find It @ WVU window, click on Article to see full text.  Click on For Journal to search MountainLynx for a print copy.