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Using the Web for Research: Introduction

About this guide

Use this guide to learn:

  • How to use background information on the web as a bridge to finding scholarly material
  • How to update incorrect or incomplete bibliographic references
  • How to evaluate web materials that you want to use


How is the term "web" used here?

  • Not included are library's journal databases, catalogues, e-journals and e-books (the scholarly research tools)
  • "Web" means everything else on the Internet

What does "scholarly" mean?

Limitations of the web

  • Some websites are not considered scholarly by instructors, thesis supervisors and journal editors
  • It can be difficult to evaluate the accuracy of claims made on a website


It is safer to use materials on the web as a bridge to high-quality research material in the library's scholarly tools (research & journal databases, library catalogue, journals and books).

Powerful uses of the bridge technique include:

  • updating a bibliographic reference that appears to be wrong, or lacking information
    • with corrected, or additional, information you will succeed in getting the article or book that correspond to the bibliographic reference
  • finding background information on an unfamiliar topic, before searching a journal database or a catalogue
    • the background information will help you choose an appropriate journal database, as well as good search terms for the topic

If you really would like to use and cite some websites directly in your research, make sure they are reliable and authoritative first. For detailed information, check Evaluating Information Sources: Websites.

Subject Guide


Created by Jim Parrot, Librarian, Information Services and Resources, Davis Centre Library.

Revised and reformatted by Helena Calogeridis, Librarian, Information Services and Resources, Dana Porter Library.