Human Kinetics

Searching the library vs the internet

When you're looking for something, the place you go impacts what you find.

You can food at the grocery store and gas station, but the quality and variety at each will be quite different. Similarly, you'll find information at the library and on the internet, but you'll spend a lot more time searching and assessing for quality when you go to the internet rather than the library.

How to pick good research sources

Not all sources provide the same quality of information. It's up to you to find information that helps you answer your research question, and then to determine the quality of that information.

To evaluate sources, use the CARS method:

C Credibility Is the author an acknowledged expert on their topic? Check on their education and professional credentials.
A Accuracy Is the information up-to-date? Check on when the information was written, and do a quick internet search to see if anything more current comes up.
R Reasonableness Is the information providing a balanced picture of the topic? Check to see if it's biased to one point of view, or written by a person or organization for a purpose other than sharing information.
S Support Is the author pointing to other sources to support what they're saying? Check to see if the other sources are also good quality.


It's essential that you evaluate sources that you find on the internet. Anyone can write and post information on the internet; it's up to you to be selective.

Sources that you find by searching the library will almost always pass the CARS test.

What source is right for you?

For a university paper or project, you will always want to consult scholarly (academic) sources.

You may be able to incorporate popular sources depending on your research question and the type of assignment. For example, if you're researching something current in the news, you'll need to include news articles. If you're talking about popular culture, you'll probably want to include internet articles, relevant magazines, and possibly even celebrity or influencer-focussed content.

Go to the Research Resources tab for details about the three most common types of academic sources and how to find them.