In academic writing, it's important to understand the background of sources you want to incorporate into your argument. There are potentially many valid online sources that will expand your understanding of your topic and help you explain to your readers your position and viewpoint.
Accepting web sources at face value is never a good idea. Students often incorporate dubious stats and information because they did not understand who had published it and for what purpose.
Your job: to incorporate sources with context. Why did you include this source?
A bit of investigation can help you understand:
Standard Academic Assessment Rules Apply!
Websites are no different from other academic sources when it comes to scrutiny.
Always evaluate a source you're interested in using for these criteria:
The first step in unpacking a website is determining what kind of website you're looking at.
Common types of sites include:
Some of these categories are overlapping. For example, an entertainment site might be owned by a company or corporation. A special interest group may have started a charity or a non-government organization.
Ultimately, what is the purpose of the site's owner and the site itself?
The internet is a place jam-packed with digital stuff. Not everything on the web is a "website".
We usually use "website" to mean a group of pages linked by design and navigation, owned and created by one entity.
Within websites, various documents might be included.
When you do a search, you might be accessing a document within a larger site. It's important to recognize:
You will need to know this information to be able to properly cite any web source.