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8.4: Finding Antithetical Points on the Internet

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    6520
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    The best (and worst!) thing about the Internet is that almost anyone can say almost anything.  This makes the Internet fertile territory for finding out what the opposition thinks about the position you are taking in your working thesis.

    A search of the Web on almost any topic will point you to web sites that take a wide variety of stances on that topic.  When you do a search for “computer hackers” or “computer crime” on the Web, you are just as likely to find links to law enforcement agencies and articles on Internet security as you are to find links to sites that argue computer hackers are good, or even instructions on how to commit various computer crimes.

    Usenet newsgroups are also excellent places to find antithetical positions.  To search newsgroups, you can browse through the list of the newsgroups that you have access to at your university and read through the ones that have titles related to your topic.  You can also search newsgroups using the commercial service “Google Groups,” which is at <http://groups.google.com>.

    Hyperlink: For advice on conducting effective Internet searches and using newsgroups, see Chapter Two, “Understanding and Using the Library and the Internet for Research” and the section called “Finding Research on the Internet: An Overview.”

    Keep in mind that information you find on the Internet always has to be carefully considered.  This is particularly true with newsgroups, which have much more in common with forums like talk radio or “letters to the editor” in the newspaper than they do with academic research.  This doesn’t mean this information is automatically unreliable, but you should be cautious about the extent to which you can or should trust the validity of anything you find on the Internet.

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