As a freshman in college my knowledge of research is limited to what I learned in high school, which doesn’t extend farther than how to navigate Wikipedia (the website where credibility goes to die).  Important information, that I have learned these past few day, about finding reliable sources is as follows;

  1. Try to stick with websites which are normally indicated by .edu or .gov.  These are educational and government websites which are more likely to be credible because they aren’t for commercial purposes.
  2. Another method to find credible sources is to get in contact with a library liaison who can help the students find the books they need.
  3. As stated above, at all costs avoid Wikipedia, “the website where you can be an authority when you don’t even know what the hell you are talking about” (Stephen Colbert).  Anyone can change the information on Wikipedia and can add his/her own citations easily.  Take for example the “Colbert Report” incident of 2006 where Stephen Colbert joking stated on his show that if enough people believed in something then it must be true, he continued this argument by including that reality should be replaced with “wikiality”.  In his presentation of “the WORD” he told his audience that if they changed every page about elephants to say that the population of African elephants had increased exponentially and tripled then the elephants would be saved.  His inspired audience, obviously just trying to do their part to save the the majestic elephants, then mobbed every Wikipedia page that had anything to remotely due with elephants. As a result the entire Wikipedia system crashed.  If that doesn’t scream reliable source for research I don’t know what will.