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Speech Research: Web information

How to find information for speeches and the library assignment.

Surfing the Web

guy surfing Web View a tutorial: Evaluating Internet Sources 

The "free" Web versus the "hidden" Web: When we surf the Web using a search engine, we are searching in the "free" Web, Web sites and pages freely available to anyone on the Web. All of the research tools in our guide thus far deliver information via the Web, but because they are subscription services (someone is paying for them), they require proof of your right to access. You might hear this part of the Web referred to as the "hidden" Web, because Google and other search engines cannot search these sites. The hidden Web is much larger than the free Web, and while you are a student, you will be expected to use these resources for college assignments. This information has been selected and edited by qualified people, and some of it has been reviewed by experts in a discipline. This process is known as "peer review." The "free" Web information can be as good, but it takes some work on your part to find "the good stuff."  

Search engines: Most students start doing research by using Google (or other search engines) to surf the Web. You have probably heard it said that anyone can publish anything on the Web, therefore, much of the Web information is not edited or reviewed in the same way as published works are. So learn to be skeptical about information from the Web.

Search result order: For any list of hits in Google, those that appear first are those that have paid to be first. You can tell these sites by the pale box surrounding them. Next up are the ones that are most relevant to the search terms and also the most clicked on by Web users. These first up sites usually include an article from Wikipedia, because it is frequently selected by Web users. Don't cite Wikipedia for your speech information!

Why the ban on Wikipedia? Since authorship for Wikipedia articles is always unknown, authority for Wikipedia articles is therefore impossible to establish. Wikipedia has many people world-wide writing and editing their articles, many of which, at any point in time, are accurate, but occasionally can be erroneous. Teach yourself how to find information from authoritative sources. Use Wikipedia for topic ideas, background or their citations at the end of articles, Speech instructors do not allow citations from Wikipedia. Watch the tutorial: Using Wikipedia for academic research for more information.

Instead of Google, try starting with some of these recommended Web sites

  • Biography.com - a respected site from the producers of Biography on the A&E network, try it for information about famous people from all time periods.
  • MedlinePlus - a health information portal sponsored jointly by the National Institutes of Health and the National Library of Medicine. It is a great resource for medical and health information. They link to other health information organizations. 
  • Country Studies - originally designed to be print study guides for military and government workers overseas, the site is now sponsored by the Library of Congress.
  • Statistical Abstract of the United States or FedStats - great sources for all kinds of statistics.
  • The Handbook of Texas - an all-topic resource for Texas, its people, places, events, history sponsored by the Texas State Historical Association. We have a print copy available in Reference which could be used for a book resource for part 1 of the Library Assignment. 
  • Portal to Texas HistoryOn-going digitization project at UNT includes the Orange Leader, Las Sabinas, and other Texas documents.

Just ASK!

Library Hours

Fall/Spring Semesters
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Friday: 7:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Saturday: 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Sunday: Closed

Summer Semesters
Monday-Thursday: 7:30 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Friday: 7:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Saturday-Sunday: Closed

Intersessions/Mini-sessions
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Saturday-Sunday: Closed