# Talk:Internet research

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## Paragraph added on search tool bias

Ok, ive added a paragraph mentioning search tool bias so kindly don't delete it without responding here. If we are going to mention the strengths of internet research, lets mention its weaknesses too. I'll get around to adding something about context and endorsements in time, since that is another significant feature of internet research. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Contextcounts (talkcontribs) 22:44, 7 May 2009 (UTC)

## Statements missing on some of the strengths and weaknesses to internet research

I'd like to contribute to this article but since im new at this, I'll write here. Im troubled that this page does succeed in defining internet searching (different from scientific and looking up a phone book entry) but says little of the strengths and weaknesses to internet research besides 1) access and 2) abundance.

Can we add something here about context, endorsements and search tool bias?

Internet research is distinct from book research in that typically more information is available about internet information than print information (such as context and endorsements) but that the value of these comments are less rigourously vetted.

Search tool bias arises from the tools we use to select the information we will actually view - as distinct from the matches recorded. A search engine, used in a blunt way, shows us prominent information first. Internet research that uses a search engine in a blunt way, can easily become biased towards the prominent answers and under-represent or completely avoid a position or conclusion that lacks prominence. This is a critical concern when researching contentious issues. Other search tools will bias results in different ways.

It seems to me adding more on the strengths and weaknesses would make this entry more fulfilling as an encyclopedia entry. Maybe there is something else we can add.

Reference is a book: Internet Informed: Guidance for the dedicated searcher. David Novak. The Spire Project 2008. Chapters one and two online at SpireProject.com

## Internet Research FAQ link at the bottom seems misdirected

It says as one of the references, Internet Research FAQ but that seems to link to a technical page on programming (http://www.psychwiki.com/wiki/Ask_an_Internet_Research_Question)

Was it intended to be the original Information Research FAQ ('97)? http://www.faqs.org/faqs/internet/info-research-faq/

## Using the Internet or About the Internet?

Couldn't "internet research" be about using the internet to do research, or research about the internet itself? I think these are sufficiently different concepts to require at least a two-part article, if not a disambiguation page.

I fully agree. Please see the Association of Internet Researchers web site for an overview of Internet Research referring to the Internet as the subject of research. This includes things like ethnographic studies of virtual worlds, the blogosphere, etc. In fact, studies of Wikipedia would fit under this definition of Internet research. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 69.217.172.118 (talk) 21:24, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

perhaps, but using the internet to do research is just doing research in general terms. the medium does not change the process. special techniques like using search engines and the like, would be new pages.
I started this article with the thought that "just doing research" has been fundamentally changed by the Net and is therefore its own topic. I didn't mean formal scientific research, but I hadn't really thought about formal academic research that uses online means to contact people. This could be scientific research, but still more or less fits into the original idea of this article being about "everyday research". Using search engines to do research is a topic on its own, but is only one aspect. Checking out forums (message boards) and emailing people are two significant other methods distinct from search engines. The most obvious common factor shared by all methods seems to be speed, how quickly results can be obtained. Tsavage 03:34, 27 Feb 2005 (UTC)

The article currently states:

It should be distinguished from scientific research - research following a defined and rigorous process - that is carried out on the Internet, also from straightforward finding of specific info, like locating a name or phone number (and it does not refer to, research about the Internet).

This sentence is misleading because the term Internet research is indeed used to refer to scientific research, e.g. The Journal of Medical Internet Research, and it can be used to refer to Internet studies—research about the internet itself, e.g. The Association of Internet Researchers. There definitely should be some form of disambiguation here. --Dforest 01:46, 2 November 2005 (UTC)

--Dforest 01:59, 2 November 2005 (UTC)

## Removed sections and phrases

I removed the parenthetical (no matter how trivial-seeming the subject) because it would appear irrelevent to defining what research is. Additionally, I removed this vague paragraph opener:

The Internet also presents an alternate body of knowledge to the traditional print library resources, because much of the content is different. Internet resources have similar (or "the same") information as print sources, but they generally do not simply reproduce print content. Although books are nowadays produced using a digital version of the content, for most books such a version is not available on the Internet. On the other hand,

replacing it with simply It should be noted that. Finally, this "questions" section, while well thought-out, unfortunately has no place on Wikipedia:

• What is the scope and quality of online information? (e.g. On a practical level, given a range of everyday subjects, what is the difference between the available info found by visiting a fair-sized library, and on the Web?)
• Trusted sources: how can sources, like individual Web sites, and specific info be vetted? (eg. Wikipedia)
• What effect does keyword searching (combined with instant access) have on the way topics are defined and information located?
• What is the impact of search engine algorithms for determining relevance (which pages are returned in what order)? What about the presence of sponsored (for a fee) results that are prioritized? What about unannounced manipulation of search results to put certain results forward (e.g. optimizing Web pages to produce better search result rankings)?
• Facts and figures: What percentage of "essential" texts are available online? What materials are available only online (eg: full text of out-of-print books)? How has the (non-fiction) print publishing business been affected by the Net?
• How have people's active research habits been changed (seeking specific info, vs passive "research" from, for example, current media and casual conversation)?
• What effect is the availability of Internet research having on regular people (not students, professional researchers, etc) - are people feeling more empowered? Putting more thought into things? Is the level of expectation for factual presentations (eg: the nightly news) affected?
• Is the relative impermanence of a "link" as a source particularly relevant on any level (for example, a referenced book may be made unavailable, but presumably a copy exists somewhere, and can be located, whereas if a web site vanishes, it may be next to impossible to locate it again; in some cases, the link/site may be like the only existing copy of a book...)?

If you feel any of these should be re-inserted, please argue for doing so here first. ${\displaystyle \sim }$ Lenoxus " * " 14:35, 22 March 2007 (UTC)

... particularly in the blurring of political and scientific themes. It's not really clear who's doing the "reccomending" here, either. ${\displaystyle \sim }$ Lenoxus " * " 14:40, 22 March 2007 (UTC)