The Internet offers endless opportunities to people all over the world who choose to take advantage of it. Whether an individual wants to shop around for different items or conduct research for a paper or project, there are specific sites available for whatever a person needs. Because there are so many sites on the Internet and the world wide web offers people who want to scam others a chance to be anonymous, it is especially important to be careful whether you are just conducting research or buying items online.
While the Internet has many benefits, there are also many drawbacks. The web is full of information and people who want to make information easily accessible to people all over the world. However, you cannot always trust the data that you receive on the Internet. The popularity of blogs has skyrocketed in recent years. Blogs reach a large demographic of people and provide the opportunity for the blogger to post any information they choose too. Many blogs revolve around a certain subject matter and offer no verification for the information that is posted, making it not a very credible resource. Because of the fact that many of these sites offer blogs for free and with other sites all it takes to get a website is a credit card and basic knowledge of the Internet, anyone can post information online.
Let’s take Wikipedia for instance. Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that offers information about anything and everything imaginable. Whether you are researching a historical event or need information on the latest world happenings, Wikipedia has all the information. However, just because it has a lot of information does not mean that it is the most reliable source. With Wikipedia, anyone can edit the articles and information. While the editors of the site try their best to make sure they provide the most current and accurate information, they cannot check every single article every day. This leaves open the possibility that someone can post inaccurate information and mislead users searching for facts.
Wikipedia is not the only site that may have misinformation. There are plenty of other sites out there with people claiming to be experts, but there is no way of actually verifying that information. There have been many instances of individuals claiming to be an expert in a particular subject, when in reality they are not very knowledgeable on the subject. Simply said, there is no way of knowing for sure who is behind the website you are researching.
While there are many sites out there that are inaccurate, there are also sites out there that are very credible. A good way to pick out a credible site is by their affiliations and credentials. Sites affiliated with an institute of higher education or even a reputable non-profit organization often times have credible information. These particular sites are a good place to start when conducting research, however it should not be the only resource used. It may be easier and more convenient to sit in front of your computer and surf the web, however, go to the library and researching in books and other documents is the most reliable way to get information.