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Interpersonal Communications (COM 3131): Internet Research

Learn ideas & keywords for search strategies in the field of interpersonal communication.

Understanding Internet Research

Isn't everything I need for a research paper available through Google?

A part of the Web--often called the Open Web or Surface Web--is the area indexed by search engines, like Google, Yahoo!, or Bing. A larger amount of the Web, however, (see just how large it is in this diagram) is part of the Deep or Invisible Web, inaccessible to search-engine indexing and usually requiring some sort of membership and password.

How do I get to the Deep Web? 

Commercially & educationally related databases, including the library databases at SPC, are part of this invisible area for information, and they often hold some of the highest quality information on the Internet. Library databases are free to current SPC students.

Why is information on the Deep Web often higher quality than what's on the Surface Web?

Because information found on the Surface Web is often self published without outside evaluation. However, in the case of content on the Deep Web, a publisher must retain an editorial board or jury of peers to review and evaluate submitted material (in order to ensure reliability), and all of that requires financial backing.  So, in the end, if the publisher has to pay for the process that works toward excellence, most companies will not make information free on the Internet. All that being said, remember that SPC library databases are free to current students. 

Is everything I find on the Deep Web more reliable than what I will find on Google?

Absolutely not! With every piece of information, whether from a book, article, or website, you have to evaluate your sources!