Talk:Internet research

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Paragraph added on search tool bias[edit]

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[edit]

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


Internet Research FAQ link at the bottom seems misdirected[edit]

It says as one of the references, Internet Research FAQ but that seems to link to a technical page on programming (

Was it intended to be the original Information Research FAQ ('97)?

Using the Internet or About the Internet?[edit]

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 (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)

For now, I added a disambiguation link:

This article is about using the Internet for research; for the field of research about the Internet, see Internet studies.

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

Removed sections and phrases[edit]

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. Lenoxus " * " 14:35, 22 March 2007 (UTC)


I removed this "methadology" section due to its vagueness:

There are a number of research methodologies and theoretical approaches that are recommended for Internet Research including:

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

New section on search tools[edit]

I have added a section on the most popular search tools used for Internet research. It is an important part of the topic, so please don't remove it without responding here. I also plan to eventually add a section on Internet research strategies, another critical area that should be covered. --Mkt gal (talk) 18:50, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

External Links[edit]

ElKevbo removed 2 links to the following:

The Center for Internet Research and The Center for Internet Research Discussion

Both sites are are informational in their purposes. They are publications for a project funded by a 501(c)3) non-profit educational organization. The sites contain scholarly resources on "Internet/technology Research" which is the subject of the Wikipedia article itself. There is, and never has been, a commercial purpose for the websites, foundation, or center and has as much scholarly legitimacy has the other organizations linked in the article, specifically The Association of Internet Researchers (AOIR)

While I am the founder, member, director of the Center. It has grown far beyond me and now has a life of its own. I have become merely 1 of several hundred participants (including many AOIR members) and a possible spokesperson.

I suspect the AOIR link was placed in the article by one of its members. I am unsure how to find that information. I suspect that ELKevbo is closely associated with or a member of AOIR. given that he did not remove their external links as well.

I do not believe that I have violated the rules with this post and the link should not be removed. Without rational objection, I plan to re-post the link.

Wreid (talk) 18:15, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

I don't have any inherent bias against those links. Keeping EL sections down to a useful and manageable size is always a challenge and I tend to err on the side of not including links, particularly given our prohibition against those sections being generalized directories of links. Quite frankly, I'd prefer to remove even more of the links in this section.
And I am a member of AoIR and I only kept that link because I know for sure that it is a legitimate and productive group that is relevant to this article. If you believe that it should be removed then by all means do so! I won't object. (It should probably be an article and included in the "See also" section but that's another discussion entirely.) --ElKevbo (talk) 18:22, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

Buridan is Jeremy Hunsinger. He has attacked me in other places and he is virulently hostile to TCFIR so he removed the entire section on external links so he can get rid of TCFIR. In doing so he is punishing AOIR. He is letting his personal feelings run out of control. I now find myself defending AOIR by undoing his removal. Wreid (talk) 19:29, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

I do not wish to have AOIR removed. I want you to restore us! I am not a playgroud bully like some of your colleagues. I believe there is room enough for many voices. Wreid (talk) 18:39, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

This is a wiki. Feel free to edit it! --ElKevbo (talk) 18:51, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

I will not oppose Buridan's deletion of this section since in doing so he has rendered it fair. I will now oppose its undoing unless it includes all organizations that do Internet research and contain relevent information. If I were a member of AOIR I would question Hunsinger's motives/actions, as a non-member I have concerns about their exclusion Wreid (talk) 01:44, 22 October 2009 (UTC)

In wikipedia, there are standards, the list that I edited and removed yesterday was a list of unassociated links, mostly too non-notable items, so I removed them, all of them. I would have done it without tcfir there or not, had it been brought to my attention. I have no opinion about tcfir other than I wish to not be affiliated with it, nor have it be affiliated with anything of which it has no proper claim. In wikipedia one main standard is notability, and as best as I can tell tcfir is not notable. Have a nice day. --Buridan (talk) 17:43, 22 October 2009 (UTC)

Also note, that I have not attacked tcfir anywhere, i have defended myself on one listserv after people associated with tcfir went against the norms of said list. Otherwise, I ignore them and disassociate projects that I'm involved with, from them. Personal attacks and defamation are allowed on wikipedia as far as I know. --Buridan (talk) 17:47, 22 October 2009 (UTC)

Using the power to "delete" a link is an attack. You have done that on and off this Wiki. Using the "not-notable" epithet for the group of scholars in our membership is insulting.

While AOIR has a larger membership, TCFIR has a similar mission and some pretty significant members. You have deleted TCFIR and allowed AOIR to persist repeatedly in tandem. In the case of the external links deletion, you removed AOIR but reinserted it in another location. A very transparent work-around. Everywhere you have the opportunity to remove links to the website of TCFIR you have. IMHO the two orgnaizations should share the stage. You need to get over what happened in the past and stop what is clearly a hostile path on and off this wiki. I did not come after you and to the best of my knowledge I have tried to keep you from punishing AOIR to get us. As to "notable", that is your opinion. I know people who think AOIR is a bunch of snobby jerks and has done nothing noteworthy. I personally don't share that opinion, but you make it very hard. By the way a significant number of TCFIR members are also AOIR/AIR-L. Of them, approximately 50% have friended me personally.

If it is a personal attack to say you are letting your biases influence your editing then I plead guilty. If it is a personal attack to say you have a vested interest in AOIR and you differentially apply the rules of this Wiki to that end, then so be it. If it is an attack to expect you to honor dictionary definitions in application of those rules then you have it. Frankly I think you should let other editors deal with me. If I screw that up then it is all on me. I would welcome an editor that is not an AOIR partisan. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Wreid (talkcontribs) 02:02, 23 October 2009 (UTC)

Is there any chance we could convince both of you to just go away? Or at least stop edit warring and confine your bickering to Talk pages? Please? --ElKevbo (talk) 02:16, 23 October 2009 (UTC)
just clean up the page. i'm pretty much a regular wikipedia editor since 2004 or 5, on and off. I'm not bickering, i was merely stating the case. I'm not going to say much more about it. I've reverted things and changed things as appropriate to regular edits. I'll put wikipedia away for a long while though. you can deal with the problem of non-notability. --Buridan (talk) 03:32, 23 October 2009 (UTC)

The Center For Internet Research - membership blog Look at this membership and if you think this is not "notable" I don't know what is. Wreid (talk) 04:09, 23 October 2009 (UTC)

ELkevbo, I agree with your last revision. Will you agree to an "External Links" section with both AOIR and TCFIR? I will not add it if you take exception. Wreid (talk) 04:23, 23 October 2009 (UTC)

I waited for your advice and consent but received none. Wreid (talk) 18:42, 23 October 2009 (UTC)

I'm hoping that if I'm quiet then either you'll both go away or you'll work things out yourselves and things will be peaceful here again instead of y'all edit warring for days on end. :) --ElKevbo (talk) 19:08, 23 October 2009 (UTC)

I think the war is over. I was asking for your advice in order to avoid further conflict. I was also trying to "keep it on the talk page" as you advised. Wreid (talk) 20:54, 23 October 2009 (UTC)

Halavais' edit is really very good. Wreid (talk) 19:51, 24 October 2009 (UTC)


The only way I could demonstrate that Halavais does not act in good faith was to delete the reference to a paper by one of his cronies at AoIR.

--(# ^ Hargittai, E. (2002). “Second-Level Digital Divide: Differences in People’s Online Skills”. In First Monday, April 2002, 7 (4).

I knew that as soon as he saw that I had done so, he would immediately "undo" the delete. I knew he would do it blindly without checking the reference. I was not disappointed. He acted precisely as I suspected.

The link is broken "the server cannot be found". Halavais is so biased that he cannot resist posting bad information just to oppose me and to elevate his cronies at AoIR. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:57, 5 February 2010 (UTC)

So you (a) knew that one of our references had a bad/outdated link and didn't fix it or say anything and (b) deleted it to prove a point? Bad call. And labeling the reversion of your vandalism as supporting an AoIR crony is completely unacceptable, both in your blatant assumption of bad faith and your slander of a well-respected researcher (who is well-known outside of that one organization).
I renew my request that you voluntarily leave this article completely alone as you can't seem to edit it in good-faith. --ElKevbo (talk) 23:08, 5 February 2010 (UTC)
I disagree with everything you have said and I reject your advice.
I removed a broken link (bad information) and Halavais restored it (uncorrected). You cannot dispute this! His action after that is a predictable bonus. Show me where it say's that removing bad information and not replacing it with good information is acting in bad faith? If removing bad information is vandalism, no matter what other motives may be afoot, then I plead guilty. I refuse to assume good faith when there is none, to do otherwise is stupidity. IMHO it is not prudent to assume good faith and trust a self-confessed Wikipedia vandal. I have merely proved the wisdom of that logic.
So, what is the motive, intent, or explanation for restoring bad information? Isn't restoring bad information the same as posting bad information, if not what is the difference? Why would this "highly respected Internet scholar" fail to verify the information he was restoring. What do you call that? Some terms come to mind but they would be more hostile than "lack of neutrality" or "bad faith".
You are perilously close to exposing your lack of neutrality and making me a sympathetic character as well. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Wreid (talkcontribs) 05:06, 6 February 2010 (UTC)

All feelings of persecution by peer-reviewed articles and their authors aside, the appropriate reaction to link rot on Wikipedia is detailed here. In particular "Do not delete a URL solely because the URL isn't working any longer. Recovery and repair options and tools are available." Best practice is to apply the Template:Cleanup-link_rot. Also important to leave an edit summary, especially when deleting text. Thanks for improving the article, since I'm sure that was an aim in there somewhere... -- Halavais (talk) 16:05, 7 February 2010 (UTC)

The condescending remark about "peer review" is not helpful and supports my theory. Besides, it's only a "feeling" of persecution if there is no evidence to support the feeling. Unfortunately you are far too predictable.
IMHO Ezter's paper is excellent, but dated, and should not be replaced; but I am not going to fight that fight. I think the discussions of both Internet research and studies should be re-written but I don't think there is good faith afoot, so I'm not comfortable investing the time. You know we could surprise everybody and collaborate on a rewrite. I'm willing to try. Wreid (talk) 04:53, 12 February 2010 (UTC)

Tracing Monash Library link...[edit]

Monash restructured their library, so the link at the bottom of the page has gone missing from their links on their website as well. can't help. I've left a note on their website error form, but if nothing returns, I'll drop the link. Contextcounts (talk) 02:07, 5 January 2013 (UTC)

Gary, an Admin at Monash Library, confirmed by email that this Monash guide is gone for good. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:11, 8 January 2013 (UTC)

Trepidation but i'll try.[edit]

Yes, its my book. Yes, i'm the author. Yes, i suppose there is some promotional intent. Having said that, the book is in the creative commons. It is detailed. It is 5 years old. My links have been here before (FAQ, SpireProject). And we did lose the reference from Monash. Before you revert the link, consider the link on its own merits. All i ask. David Contextcounts (talk) 02:31, 5 January 2013 (UTC)

First change: complete rewrite of first section.[edit]

January 2013: This is a C-class article and it has not changed much in the last five to ten years. I'm going to try to improve this with balance and depth - particularly in discussing the strengths and weaknesses and unique features of internet research.

First point - first line: This is also Google's defacto definition for internet research by the way. "Internet research is the practice of using the Internet, especially the World Wide Web, for research." I see this as either a tautology, or just a little wrong. We can retrieve almost any research through the internet. That does not make it internet research. We can search Dialog databases through the internet. All we need is an account and a credit-card. No-one suggests searching such commercial databases is internet research, yet searching Medline or LOCOC most certainly is.

I've replace this with: "Internet research is the practice of using internet information, especially free information on the World Wide Web, in research. It is: focused and purposeful (so not recreational browsing), uses internet information or internet-based resources (like internet discussion lists), immediate (drawing answers from information you can access without delay) and tends to access information without a purchase price."

Remember this line will become a defacto definition - I'm breaking it away from a catch-all phrase without meaning to something distinct from commercial or library or scientific research. It has strengths, habits and weaknesses, fleshed out in the next few paragraphs.

This is a C-class article and it has not kept pace with a maturing understanding of what is right and wrong with internet searching/researching. Five years ago we may have had an overly glowing sense of the wonders of internet research but if we can nail this article firmly, we can help readers understand this task in a much more wholesome way. I may come back later and remove some of the wishy-washyness (tends to/can be/usually) but i'd like your comments before i do that. Not certain how violent the response to this change will be. Contextcounts (talk) 02:51, 10 January 2013 (UTC)

And from what reliable source(s) are you drawing this definition? ElKevbo (talk) 02:57, 10 January 2013 (UTC)
ElKevbo, are you referring to the definition of internet research as distinct from library research and commercial research? There is a simple concise reference we could use at Not certain what point of definition is in question here. Contextcounts (talk) 03:31, 10 January 2013 (UTC)
No, I am referring to the definition both in its entirety and in its specifics. (That particular part, however, I don't have any questions about; it's more of a matter of placing scope on this article to keep it focused than anything else. Unless, of course, there are reliable sources that explicitly use this phrase in a different manner which would require us to at least acknowledge that fact.) ElKevbo (talk) 09:26, 13 January 2013 (UTC)
Sent a note to buslib-l seeking a definition for Internet Research. Maybe that will lead to a usable weighty reference. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Contextcounts (talkcontribs) 04:19, 10 January 2013 (UTC)
Thanks! ElKevbo (talk) 09:26, 13 January 2013 (UTC)

Buslib-l didnt work this time - and too many of the references i'm seeing are circular - internet research is research using the internet because the wikipedia says so. LOL. Looked at that page you pointed to about "Libraries are the preeminent physical repositories"... Good spotting that. I'll work it in. Also looking through some weighty information literacy descriptions or if needed, i'll just quote myself since my book has been out 5 years already. Just wanted to say this is on my mind, though I'm moving at the moment. I've had to ask for a little time to gather support for the rewrite.Contextcounts (talk) 09:44, 2 February 2013 (UTC)