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Researching information

by: Romany Howes (31 October 2008)

At one point or another, we all need to do some researching but with such a wealth of information at our fingertips, how can we tell if the information we download is correct?

The internet is an amazing medium but it isnít always accurate. Beware of looking up anything on Wikipedia for example: Richard Curtis (creator of Blackadder and Four Weddings and a Funeral) tells of his entry on Wikipedia which culminated in the claim that he was the best dad in the world. It turns out the information had been posted by his son! While Wikipedia is normally excellent, you should take a little extra care when using information from Wikipedia as it is posted by users. However, it a very good source!

With facts and figures, go to a reputable site. If you are researching country statistics for instance, go to that countryís official website. There you will get more accurate information than you would from someone writing a review on a bargain holiday site. Donít lift historical information from a Jean Plaidy novel just because, when you Googled Henry VIII, hers was the first name that came up.

If you donít think something is right, check it out further. Just because it is in print, it doesnít make it right. Remember how Mark Twain had to deal with rumours - "The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated."

And use libraries Ė somewhat old fashioned, and grossly underrated but an essential source of information, especially facts and figures that relate back to history.

The internet is a mighty weapon but if you are researching seriously, remember to check your sources and validate them as reliably as you can.

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