Homework Help

  • Helpful Web Resources
    The following free web resources are a good place to start if you are required to do research for a homework assignment, but be sure to be mindful of your teacher’s requirements for what types of resources you are allowed to cite in your work.
    ResourceStrengthsWeaknesses
    Google Google is a great place to start a general information search on the Internet. Google searches all information on the Internet without attention to quality or accuracy. If you choose to cite information you find through Google, you will want to evaluate the quality of the information.
    Google Image Search Google Image Search is an easy way to find images from all over the Internet. If you roll over the images with your mouse, you can see the original source for the image. Clicking on the image will take you out to the site where the image was originally published.Google Image Search has some security weaknesses, which can result in viruses on your computer if you click on an infected image. Clicking on an infected image will often result in a fake anti-virus alert. If you see such an alert, don’t panic; simply hit crtl/alt/del and close the browser.
    Google Scholar Google Scholar is a way to search for scholarly or cademic articles that are available for free on the Web.Sometimes Google Scholar links to articles that are not available in full-text online. In this case, you may have to write down the citation and check to see if it is available in the Library.
    Bing Bing gives you a handy list of related search topics on the left side of the page. It also allows you to limit your search timeframe, which is helpful if your teacher requires up-to-date sources.Like Google, Bing is a major search engine. The same rules apply here – evaluate the web site to be sure it meets the needs of your assignment.
    Wikipedia Wikipedia is a great way to get a little background information on your topic, but remember that anyone can post to Wikipedia, so be sure you pay attention to articles that note if more citations are requiredAs a general rule, you shouldn’t cite Wikipedia as a primary reference for your homework. Use the references listed at the bottom of Wikipedia entries to find and cite the original sources of information you are interested in.
    ipl2 This information available through ipl2 is compiled by public librarians all over the country. This site has an easy-to-browse subject section, as well as a section dedicated specifically to teens’ information needs.The browsing feature at ipl2 is excellent if you’re looking to narrow down a research topic, but time consuming if you’re looking for specific information. In this case, we recommend using the ipl2 search box located on the main page.
    Sweet Search Sweet Search only searches information from a select number of Internet sites that are considered credible by a team of researchers.The look of this search engine is more bare bones than you might be used to, but the information is solid and the site gives you some of the context for each link to let you know if further exploration is worth your time.

  • Evaluating Web Sites
    The best and worst thing about the Internet is that anyone can publish anything. What this means for you is that when you are using the web for homework, you will want to be able to evaluate the sources you are using. Search engines do not always list the best information first, so you may need to look more closely at web sites to determine if they are appropriate for citing in your work.
    AccuracyAuthorityObjectivity
    When you are trying to determine the accuracy of a web site, you will want to pay attention to who wrote the page. Is the person qualified? Is there contact information listed for the author and/or publisher?

    Another important thing to think about when determining the accuracy of information is where the information came from. Does the author list references for their information? Could you verify the information with another source?
    When you are thinking about authority on the web, you’ll want to look for the author’s credentials. Is the person an expert? Do they work somewhere that makes them able to speak with authority on whatever your topic is?

    Another thing to think about here is the institution publishing the web site. In general, a site that is published by an organization (.org), the government (.gov), or an educational institution (.edu) is going to be more authoritative than a commercial web site (.com). The exception to this rule would be newspaper and magazine web sites, which are .com sites.
    When you are looking at whether or not a web site is objective, you will want to consider the source of the page and the goals. Is the page published by an advocacy group? Advocacy groups promote specific goals and viewpoints, so the information given there may not be the most balanced. Information from a specific viewpoint may be acceptable for your assignment, but it may not, so just be sure you pay attention to the goals of the author/publisher when you are looking for information on the web.

  • Copyright & Plagiarism
    It’s important when you are doing work for your classes that your work is original. Creative works are often protected by copyright and if you use someone else’s work without citing your source, that’s called plagiarism. The Internet makes it easy to copy and paste someone else’s words into your homework, but it’s dishonest, illegal, and unfair to the original author. There are ways you can use someone else’s work legally—it’s called Fair Use.  Works that are in the Public Domain can also be used legally. Most of the time, Public Domain refers to works in which the copyright has expired.For more information about copyright, what’s okay, and what isn’t, check out the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Copyright Frequently Asked Questions.

 

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