Sep 152016
 

The center splits is one of most impressive ways to showcase your flexibility. It involves extending the legs in opposite directions until they form a 180 degree angle, which is useful in array of physical activities, including gymnastics, martial arts and dance. The only way to achieve a complete center splits is through rigorous and repeated stretching. This article will show you some of the best exercises for increasing flexibility, along with some tips on how you can achieve center splits quickly and safely.

EditSteps

EditStretching Your Way to Splits

  1. Do a butterfly stretch. The butterfly stretch is a great stretch for the center splits as it increases flexibility in the inner thighs, the groin and the hips. To perform:
    Do Center Splits Step 1 Version 6.jpg
    • Sit on the floor and bend your knees until the soles of your feet are touching. Pull your heels as close towards your body as possible and use your elbows to push your knees towards the floor.
    • Make sure to sit upright with your back straight. Hold the stretch for 30 to 60 seconds.
    • To deepen the stretch, lean forward as far as you can and place your hands on the floor in front of your feet. Keep your back straight and your knees pressed to the floor.[1]
  2. Do a pancake stretch. The pancake stretch is used by gymnasts to increase their flexibility and prepare for the center splits. To perform:
    • Sit on the floor and spread your legs as wide as possible into a straddle position. Make sure that your legs are completely straight and that your toes are pointed.
    • Keeping your back straight, lean forward as far as you can with your arms stretched out in front of you. Try to touch your chest to the floor, so your body is completely flat – just like a pancake!
    • To deepen the stretch, try to grab your feet with your hands, while keeping the rest of your body flat to the ground. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds.[1]
  3. Touch your toes. Touching your toes stretches your leg muscles and increases flexibility in the hamstrings, which is great for center splits. This stretch can be performed in a seated or standing position.
    Do Center Splits Step 3 Version 6.jpg
    • To perform the stretch while standing, stand with your feet together and your legs straight. Reach down and attempt to touch your toes with your fingertips. Don’t bend your knees and try to place your weight on the balls of your feet, rather than your heels. Hold this stretch for 30 to 60 seconds.
    • To perform the stretch while seated, sit with your legs stretched out straight in front of you and lean forward (keeping your back straight) until your touch your toes with your fingers. As you grow more flexible, try to grab the soles of your feet with your hands, in order to increase the stretch.[2]
  4. Do a bent knees stretch. This stretch increases flexibility in the groin and hips. If you can perform it correctly, you are well on your way to achieving center splits.
    • Kneel on the floor and place your hands on the ground in front of you for balance. Move your knees outwards – as far from your body as possible – until they form 90 degree angles. There should be a straight line running from one knee to the other.
    • Move your weight from your hands to your elbows, to get deeper into the stretch. The goal is to get your hips flat on the ground, while maintaining the 90 degree angle with your knees. Once you have achieved the correct position, hold this stretch for 30 seconds.[1]
  5. Do half squats. The half squat is a useful exercise for stretching the inner thighs. To perform:
    Do Center Splits Step 5 Version 6.jpg
    • Hunker down into a low squatting position. Shift your weight onto your right leg and stretch your left leg straight out to the side, as if you were doing the center splits with that leg. Make sure to point your toes.
    • Place your right hand on the floor (in front of your right leg) for balance and use your elbow to push the knees outwards until you feel a firm stretch in the inner thighs.
    • Hold for 60 seconds, then repeat with the other leg.[3]
  6. Do standing leg stretches. These simple leg stretches are essential when training to do the splits, as they increase flexibility in all of the necessary muscles. They are commonly used in martial arts training as preparation for the center splits.
    Do Center Splits Step 6 Version 5.jpg
    • To begin, stand up straight and place your feet two shoulder widths apart. Bend forwards at the hips, keeping your legs completely straight. Let your body hang down and try to place your palms on the ground. As flexibility increases, try to get your elbows on the ground. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds.
    • Next your can try ankle grabs. Lean to the right and grab the right ankle with both hands, then lean to the left and repeat with the left ankle. When holding these stretches, make sure that your hips are level rather than tilted to the side, otherwise the stretch will not be as effective.
    • Next, try grabbing both ankles at the same time, bringing your chest as close to your knees as possible. Keep your back straight and relax your neck muscles so that your head is hanging straight down.
  7. Practice your full center split. Of course, one of the best ways to achieve center splits is to practice doing center splits. The safest, most effective way to do this is as follows:
    • Hunker down into a low squat and place both hands on the floor in front of you. Then, slowly begin to walk or slide both feet outwards, as far apart as you can manage.
    • Your legs should be completely straight and your feet should be parallel as you lower yourself down into the stretch. Many people make the mistake of lowering themselves down by rolling back on their heels, but this will not provide as effective of a stretch and could cause injury. Your toes should only point outwards when you have achieved the full splits.
    • Hold the stretch for as long as you can, then slowly come back into a squatting position to rest your muscles. When you feel ready, lower yourself back into the splits position again. Alternating between squatting and stretching will help you to get lower down each time you attempt the center splits.
    • As you stretch, remember to keep your back straight and your hips in line with your legs. If your hips are too far forward or too far back, you will not be able to perform a center split correctly.
    • The goal is to lower yourself down until your groin touches the floor. Once you have achieved this, you can try to roll your hips until you are sitting in an upright position, while maintaining a center splits.
    • Remember to move slowly and breathe evenly. Do not push yourself too hard. You should feel a tight stretch in your inner thigh and groin muscles, but it should not feel painful. If you feel any discomfort or tearing sensations, come out of the stretch immediately.

EditAchieving the Splits Quickly Yet Safely

  1. Always warm up before you stretch. It is essential that you warm up before you stretch, in order to avoid injury and maximize your natural flexibility.
    • Try doing jumping jacks or running on the spot for a few minutes before you begin your stretching routine.
    • Alternatively, do your stretching at the end of a cardio workout . You will get the double benefit of increasing your flexibility while preventing muscle stiffness after your workout.
  2. Stretch every day. Achieving the center splits requires a high level of flexibility, and flexibility is something that needs to be worked at consistently over time. In order to achieve the flexibility required for center splits, you need to be stretching every single day, or as close to it as possible.[4]
    • Begin by stretching for 15 minutes a day, using a routine comprised of the stretching exercises outlined above. After a couple of weeks, increase the time spent stretching to 30 minutes a day, if possible. You can break this up into two 15 minute sessions a day.
    • Remember that the more stretching you do, the faster you will achieve center splits.
  3. Enlist the help of a friend. When stretching for the center splits, it can be very useful to enlist the help of a friend.
    Do Center Splits Step 10.jpg
    • Your friend can help by observing your posture, which can be difficult to correct by yourself. Ask them to make sure that your hips are in line and your shoulders are even. This is important as poor posture can affect the quality of your stretching and even cause injuries.
    • A friend can also help you to deepen your splits by pushing down lightly on your shoulders or legs as you stretch. This can help you to get a fraction or two deeper into your stretch than you could on your own. Just make sure that they will respond quickly if you ask them to stop.
  4. Wear socks. One simple tip that can help you to deepen your splits is to wear socks while you stretch, rather than stretching in your bare feet.
    Do Center Splits Step 11.jpg
    • The socks will allow your feet to slide easily along the ground, helping you to get deeper into the stretch. This is more effective on wooden floors than on carpet.
    • However, make sure that you slide into the stretch in a careful and controlled fashion. Sliding too quickly may cause you to pull a muscle or tear ligaments.
    • For safety, most of your body weight should be supported by your arms as you slide into a center split.
  5. Find a practice space that works for you. When working towards the center splits, it is important that you find a suitable environment for stretching and practice. The type of environment that works best for you will depend on personal preference.
    Do Center Splits Step 12 Version 4.jpg
    • Some people prefer to practice their center splits in a quiet, peaceful environment. They consider their stretching routine to be a type of meditation, where they can clear their mind and focus only on the sensations of their body.
    • Other people find stretching a chore and need something to entertain themselves as they go through their routine. For example, some people like to watch television to distract themselves as they stretch.
  6. Know your limits. The ability to perform the center splits is an impressive physical feat which requires discipline and perseverance to achieve. However, it is also important that you know your limits and refrain from pushing yourself past them in order to achieve your goal.
    Do Center Splits Step 13 Version 4.jpg
    • Pushing yourself too hard will only result in injury, which could potentially prevent you from ever being able to do the splits.
    • To safely yet effectively achieve the center splits, perform each stretch slowly and carefully, paying close attention to maintaining the correct posture. Listen to your body and you will soon achieve your goal!

EditVideo

EditTips

  • Always breathe out (exhale) while going into a split, this will help you get farther into your split.
  • Be Patient. If you are a beginner and you don’t get it the first time, just keep on practicing.
  • Remember that it takes months to accomplish this, not hours.
  • You could also do wall splits. That is when you face the wall and stretch your legs out as if you we’re going to do a split. Go as far as you can until you feel a stretch in your legs.

EditWarnings

  • Don’t push yourself too far. This won’t help your splits. It will make your splits worse due to leg injury.
  • Be aware that some body types will never be able to achieve full center splits, no matter how much stretching they do.

EditRelated wikiHows

EditSources and Citations

Cite error: <ref> tags exist, but no <references/> tag was found

How to Do Center Splits
Source: How To Of The Day

Sep 152016
 

When you own a bearded dragon, it is natural to want to love your pet. Your dragon also can have affection for you if you take care of him. Learn how to hold him appropriately, bathe, and house him. By providing a good and safe home for your pet, you show your love.

EditSteps

EditProviding a Good Home

  1. Purchase a high quality vivarium. A vivarium is a wooden tank with a glass front. It should have a tight lid and smooth sides to prevent the dragon from hurting his nose. Look for a vivarium that will be easy to clean. Vivariums should have a polyurethane or waterproof sealing. You should make sure the joints are caulked as well.[1]
    Build Love With Your Bearded Dragon Step 1 Version 2.jpg
    • If you waterproof a vivarium yourself, be sure to allow the vivarium to dry for a week before putting your dragon in his home.[2]
    • Make sure your dragon has enough space to run around, climb, and sit on branches.[3]
    • Clean your pet’s habitat thoroughly regularly with a 10:1 mixture of water to bleach.[4] Remove any vegetables that he does not eat within four hours. Remove uneaten insects at the day’s end.[5]
  2. Use an aquarium. You can also purchase an aquarium for your dragon. Baby dragons can live in a 10-15 gallon aquarium, while adults need a larger 55-60 gallon space.[6] Aquariums are a better short-term solution because it is difficult to regulate the temperature in them.[7]
    Build Love With Your Bearded Dragon Step 2 Version 2.jpg
  3. Provide a vivarium and a heater. Wooden vivariums encapsulate heat better than glass or metal does. Aim to provide a less warm area (30 degrees Celsius/86 degrees Fahrenheit) and a warmer section (45 degrees Celsius/113 degrees Fahrenheit). The vivarium should be no smaller than 48 x 24 x 24 inches. Make sure your vivarium has air vents, minimally one per square foot. The vent should be on the upper part of the back wall rather than on the lower section.[8] See Care for Bearded Dragons for additional instructions on how to set up your pet’s habitat and vivarium.
    Build Love With Your Bearded Dragon Step 3 Version 2.jpg
    • You can purchase a vivarium or make your own using DIY kits, such as Vivexotic.[9]
  4. Install a good substrate. A substrate is the material that fills the bottom of the vivarium. Your pet will dig into the substrate.[10] Aim for a substrate that looks natural and makes your dragon feel at home. The substrate should also be absorbent. Because your dragon might eat parts of it unintentionally, try to find substrate that is non-toxic and safely digestible. You can utilize smooth newspapers, indoor or outdoor carpet, brown paper, or AstroTurf[11].
    Build Love With Your Bearded Dragon Step 4 Version 2.jpg
    • Do not use wood chips or shavings, gravel, cat litter, or soil with pesticides, vermiculite, fertilizers, or surfactants for your substrate[12]
  5. Provide appropriate furniture. Include branches for climbing. A reptile hammock is also fun for your pet and available at pet stores. Equip your dragon’s space with a “reptile hide,” which is an enclosed area in which your dragon can hide from you. Your dragon also will use this space for long periods of sleep. Place a “basking platform” in the habitat as well. This can be a rock or another surface within six to eight inches of the basking light source. Here a dragon can warm himself.[13]
    Build Love With Your Bearded Dragon Step 5 Version 2.jpg
    • Be sure to strip all bark from natural wood branches so that your dragon does not eat the wood. Clean all branches prior to use.[14]

EditHolding Your Bearded Dragon

  1. Know good practices. Dragons actually like to be held. Wait three to four days after the dragon’s arrival to start holding him. Wash your hands before and after handling the pet. Begin by holding him for short periods multiple times a day. This helps build trust slowly.
    Build Love With Your Bearded Dragon Step 6.jpg
    • When holding your dragon, strive to have a quiet setting.[15]
    • Babies, young children, women who are or might be pregnant, the elderly, or people with weakened immune systems should be careful about touching the dragon or being near its home.[16] Salmonella infections can occur.[17] Consult a doctor if you or your child belongs to one of these populations before allowing contact with the reptile.
    • See Hold a Bearded Dragon for thorough tips.
  2. Pick up the dragon. Gather your dragon from underneath his body in a slow, yet self-assured, scooping motion. Support his whole body plus his legs and tail.[18] Do not hold or pull your dragon by his tail. It can come off![19]
    Build Love With Your Bearded Dragon Step 7.jpg
  3. Calm your dragon. It is important to tame your dragon from the beginning. If your dragon appears aggressive (his “beard” will darken),[20] hold him tightly (not too tightly) with both of your hands and pet him. If your pet appears particularly agitated, release him for a short moment and then try holding him again until he calms himself. Training your dragon to be held and calm can take a number of months but it is vital to creating a good relationship with your dragon.[21]
    Build Love With Your Bearded Dragon Step 8.jpg

EditBonding With Your Dragon Through Care

  1. Feed your dragon by hand. One way to bond with your dragon is to give him his food directly. You should do this occasionally but not so often that your dragon becomes reliant upon you. Instinctually, dragons hunt for their food so you should still give your dragon his food in a bowl most of the time. Place the food on the tip of your fingers. Your dragon will use his tongue to take the food from you. [22]
    Build Love With Your Bearded Dragon Step 9.jpg
    • Bearded dragons eat vegetables, living insects like crickets, waxworms, or mealworms, or bearded dragon foods available for purchase at pet shops.[23] Safe vegetables include squash, endive, turnip greens, or collard greens. Dragons also can eat apples, strawberries, and melons.[24]
    • Do not feed your pet spinach, avocado, lettuce, or wild insects.[25]
    • Implement a regular feeding plan. Whether feeding by hand or putting the food in your dragon’s home, your dragon will anticipate feeding time. He then will associate a positive experience with you![26]
    • You should feed your young dragon once daily and your adults once per day or every second day.[27] Juvenile dragons require a mainly live food diet. Beardies are able to transition onto a vegetarian diet as they mature.
    • It is possible your dragon might think your fingers are food. Be careful when feeding him![28]
  2. Bathe your bearded dragon. By giving your lizard a bath, you will help him stay hydrated. Dragons absorb water through their pores. This is particularly important because dragons do not love to drink form a water bowl. To bathe your dragon, fill a sink, bathtub, or other clean container with warm water (try to reach 34.5-35.5 degrees Celsius/94-96 degrees Fahrenheit). Your dragon might enjoy this activity and again associate pleasure with you![29]
    Build Love With Your Bearded Dragon Step 10.jpg
    • Be sure to clean the bathing container thoroughly after use.[30]
    • Mist your pet with water every second day. This will help your lizard also to stay hydrated.[31]
    • Try to bathe your pet every four to eight days although you can bathe him every day.[32]
  3. Aim for a stress-free environment. In order for your dragon to be happy, you should try to reduce his stress levels. High stress can lead to aggression. When your dragon sleeps, keep the noise levels in your house down. When your dragon decides to hide under something, this could signal that he wants to be alone. Try to respond appropriately to your dragon’s behavior and avoid disturbances unless there is a pressing need.[33]
    Build Love With Your Bearded Dragon Step 11.jpg
    • It’s okay to let your dragon roam a bit outside his habitat. Just be sure to keep him from the kitchen or other rooms where you eat or prepare food.[34]
  4. Take your dragon to the veterinarian. Like any pet, bearded dragons should have yearly check-ups. Also, if you sense that your bearded dragon is acting differently than normal, schedule an appointment with the vet. Mites are a common issue that dragons face–they suck the reptile’s blood. Only a vet can determine, though, through testing whether your pet is truly ill.[35]
    Build Love With Your Bearded Dragon Step 12.jpg

EditRelated wikiHows

EditSources and Citations

Cite error: <ref> tags exist, but no <references/> tag was found

How to Build Love With Your Bearded Dragon
Source: How To Of The Day

Sep 152016
 

The internet has made researching a topic easier than ever before. Instead of making a trip to the library, people with internet access can simply pull up a search engine, type, and click away. But, in addition to making it easier to access information, the web has also made it easier to access misinformation.[1][2][3] However, by following some simple rules, you can avoid being fooled or misinformed by a phony, inaccurate, or biased web source.

EditSteps

EditKnowing Where to Begin

  1. Decide where to start your search. If your employer, college, or university provides you with a search engine or directory, begin there. If you have access to a library database of research articles, such as EBSCOhost, start there.[4] Library databases provide you with access to peer-reviewed research, which is the gold standard for academic study. “Peer-reviewed” means that top experts in the field have reviewed the research to make sure it is accurate, trustworthy, and informed before publishing it. Even if you’re just trying to learn something for your own personal benefit, academic research will provide you with the most up-to-date, reliable information.
    Do Qualitative Research Step 1 Version 3.jpg
    • You can usually access these databases through your home library’s website. Some academic and universities libraries may require a password if you are accessing them remotely (from somewhere other than in the library itself).
    • If you don’t have access to a library, try using Google Scholar for your searches. You can find academic research through this search engine, and Google Scholar will show you where you can find free copies of the articles online.
  2. Look for subject-specific databases. Depending on the area of your research, you have several options for online databases specific to your field. For example, if you are looking for research on education, the ERIC (Education Resources Information Center) is sponsored by the United States Department of Education and provides peer-reviewed research and informational materials on education topics.[5] If you’re looking for medical or scientific research, PubMed, sponsored by the United States National Library of Medicine, is a great place to start.[6]
    Teach Guitar Step 9 Version 2.jpg
  3. Ask a librarian. If you have access to a library, make an appointment to speak with your reference librarian. These people are specially trained in helping you access the best research and knowledge available.[7] They can help you find sources and also help you determine whether sources are credible.
    Research Step 12.jpg
  4. Use regular search engines with caution. Search engines crawl the web indexing pages by reading the words and phrases that appear on those pages. From there, the process is automated. Each search engine has an algorithm that’s used to rank results for specific searches. This means that no human is vetting the accuracy of the results. The “top” result is simply the result of an algorithm. It’s not an endorsement of the content or quality of the result.[8]
    Become an Accomplished Young Author Step 19.jpg
    • Most search engines can be “gamed” by savvy websites in order to ensure their content comes up first. Moreover, each search engine has its own algorithm, and some tailor their results based on your browsing history. So the “top” result on Google will not necessarily be the “top” result on Yahoo, even with the exact same search phrasing.[9]
    • Be aware that simply because you find information online doesn’t make it credible or authoritative. Anyone can make a webpage, and the amount of poor, unverified, and just plain wrong information often outweighs the good stuff online.[10] To help you sift through the useless stuff, talk to your teacher or librarian, and use library or academic search engines when possible.
  5. Choose your keywords carefully. For any given inquiry, there are an almost limitless number of potential word and phrase choices you could enter into a search engine. Therefore, it’s important to think carefully about what you hope your search will find, as well as try multiple different search combinations.
    Do Qualitative Research Step 5 Version 3.jpg
    • If you’re using an academic search engine, such as your library’s search feature, try using a combination of keywords and Boolean Operators, or words you can use to narrow down your search: AND, OR, and NOT.[11]
      • For example, if you are doing research on feminism in China, you might run a search for “feminism AND China.” This will return results that include both of those topic keywords.
      • You can use OR to run searches for related keywords. For example, you could search for “feminism OR feminist OR social justice.” This would return results that contain one or more of those terms.
      • You can use NOT to exclude keywords from your search. For example, you could search for “feminism AND China NOT Japan.” You would not get any results that included Japan.
    • You can use quote marks to search for full phrases. For example, if you want to search for academic performance, you would search for the whole phrase inside quotation marks: “academic performance.” Be aware, though, that using quotation marks will kick out any result that isn’t an exact match. For example, you would not get results about “school performance” or “academic functioning” because they are not worded exactly the way you searched.
    • Use specific keyword phrases to locate the most relevant information. For example, if you are looking for information social welfare expenditures in the U.S., you’re more likely to get the results you want by searching for “total yearly amount spent on welfare programs in U.S.” than searching for “welfare,” which would bring up definitions of welfare, types of welfare in other countries, and thousands more results you don’t want. Be aware, though, that you can’t always find information like this — the more words you enter, the fewer results you’re likely to get.
    • Use alternate words or keyword phrases to locate additional research sources. For example, if you are researching “welfare,” consider using “safety net” or “social programs” or “public assistance” in place of “welfare” to find different results. In many cases, your word choice might unintentionally bias your results, since terms like “welfare” are often politically loaded. Using a wider variety of terms ensures that you’ll be exposed to a broader — and therefore potentially less biased — set of sources.
  6. Narrow when necessary. If you’re researching a topic about which you’re relatively uninformed, begin your search with broad terms, then use the information culled from that first search to begin narrowing your search.
    Report Welfare Fraud Step 10.jpg
    • For example, in your search for “total yearly amount spent on welfare programs in U.S.,” you’ll quickly discover that there are several different public assistance programs, such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Use that information to decide which program(s) you’re interested in, and then perform a new (more specific) search, such as “total yearly SNAP expenditures in U.S.”

EditGetting Good Sources

  1. Look for credible, authoritative sources. Perhaps the most difficult — and important — task in internet research is ensuring the sources you select are credible. Generally, you want to prioritize information from government sources, academics, and nationally recognized news organizations.[12]
    Contact Nancy Grace Step 5.jpg
    • Government sources will often have “.gov” somewhere in the webpage. For example, the United States Department of State’s website is www.state.gov. The official website for Australia’s Department of Defence is www.defence.gov.au.
    • Websites that end in .edu belong to colleges and universities. However, you do need to be careful with .edu sites, because often faculty and students can run personal webpages that will have the .edu extension, but the information there may not be vetted by the university.[13] It’s better to find academic sources through an academic database or search engine, like EBSCOhost or Google Scholar.
    • Websites that end in .org belong to non-profit organizations. While some of these are highly credible, some are not. Anyone can purchase a website with a .org extension. Check these sites carefully, and don’t rely on them as your sole source of information if you can avoid them.[14]
    • Major news sources such as The Guardian, CNN, and Al Jazeera tend to be credible, but you also need to make sure you’re reading a factually based article and not an opinion piece. Many news sites also have blogs and editorial sites where people can state their opinions, which aren’t necessarily backed up by facts.
  2. Cast a wide net. Don’t limit yourself to the first few results in the search engine. Look beyond the first page of search results to find information for your research.[15]
    Study for an English Exam at the Last Minute Step 14.jpg
    • While it’s impossible to view all of the results for most searches, it’s important to view at least several pages of results in order to ensure you’re not missing important information. Because of search engine optimization, if you’re using a regular search engine like Google or Yahoo, the first several pages might contain the links that were most effectively promoted, not the ones with the best information.[16]
  3. Wikipedia can be a good place to start, but websites such as this are open to editing by anyone, which means that their information can be inaccurate, outdated, or biased.[17] If you want to use Wikipedia or another wiki for research, scroll down to the “References” section at the bottom of the page and check those out. Go to the original source whenever possible.
    Contribute to Wikipedia Step 1.jpg
    • For example, if you are writing a report on penguins, you could start with the Wikipedia page on Penguins. Scrolling to the References section would show you several peer-reviewed academic journal articles on penguins, along with references to book chapters by academic publishers. Look at those sources for more authoritative information.
  4. Find the original source whenever possible. During your research, you will find many statements online, but not all of them are true or useful. Some sources will not cite any references, or they may twist the reference to say something other than what it originally stated. Don’t take anything at face value. Particularly when the website reporting a fact or statistic is questionable, you should attempt to find the original source.
    Study for an English Exam Step 15 Version 3.jpg
    • For example, if you’re doing research on changes in welfare expenditures during the past 20 years, there’s no reason to trust Yahoo answers, a blog, or any secondary source. Most credible sources will note that they’re using data from federal agencies. Therefore, it’s usually better to search for the original government data sources and cite them directly, rather than citing a page that is itself just reporting (possibly incorrectly) the data.
    • Citing the original source will also make your own research more authoritative and credible. For example, it is much more impressive to your teacher if you cite an article from the National Institutes of Health (a US government source) than if you cite an article from webMD — even if they have the same information. If you can cite the original scholarly research that produced the information you’re discussing, that’s even better.
  5. Look for consensus. If you can’t find the original source for a fact, your best bet is to verify the fact on multiple, credible sites.
    Research Step 16.jpg
    • No matter what information you’re seeking, if you can’t find a single official source, it’s advisable not to trust a piece of information until you find identical information on several independent sites. So, for example, if you can’t find an original source for SNAP expenditures in 1980, enter the data you found into a search engine to ensure that the same number is reported on multiple sites and that those sites are not all citing the same (potentially erroneous) source.

EditEvaluating for Credibility

  1. Check the source’s affiliations.[18] Checking who owns or sponsors the website will help you figure out whether it is credible or not. For example, the Mayo Clinic website is owned by the Mayo Clinic, one of the most prestigious hospitals in the world. It is a not-for-profit organization, so it is not out to make money from its content. Its articles are written by medical professionals. These are good clues that information you find on this site will be credible. On the other hand, a “health” website that has a storefront or lots of ads, and doesn’t have any institutional or professional affiliations, won’t be as credible.
    Become an Accomplished Young Author Step 7 Version 2.jpg
    • If you’re using an academic database, check out who published the article or book. Texts from prestigious journals, such as the New England Journal of Medicine, and books from academic publishers like the Oxford University Press, carry more weight than sources from less-known publishers.
    • If you’ve never heard of a source, the first place to look is the “About Us” (or similar) portion of the website. If that doesn’t provide you with a good idea of who’s producing the web page, try conducting an internet search for the site itself. Often news articles, Wikipedia entries, and the like that reference a source will include information about its affiliation(s), ideology, and funding. When all else fails, consider using a web domain search engine to discover who owns the website. However, if you’ve had to go to that length, chances are good that the site is too obscure to be trusted.
  2. Check out the author. Unfortunately, many internet sources will not list an author. If you are searching online for peer-reviewed research, however, you will usually find sources with named authors. Look at their credentials.[19]
    Become an Accomplished Young Author Step 15.jpg
    • For example, does this person have education in his/her field? Neil deGrasse Tyson has a Ph.D. in Astrophysics from the prestigious Columbia University, so it’s likely that what he says about astrophysics is credible and authoritative (meaning trustworthy and up-to-date).[20] On the other hand, an amateur star-watcher’s blog will not be authoritative, even if the information is accurate.
    • Has the author written anything else on the topic? Many authors, including journalists and academic scholars, have areas of specialty and have spent years studying and writing about these topics. If the author has written many other articles on the same area, this makes him/her more credible (especially if those articles are peer-reviewed).
    • If there is no author, is the source credible? Some sources, particularly government sources, will not list an author. However, if the source you are getting the information from is authoritative — such as an article on chickenpox from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — the absence of an author isn’t cause for concern on its own.
  3. Look at the date. It’s important to make sure that your information is as up-to-date as possible, especially if you’re research a medical or scientific topic. Scientific consensus changes with the presence of new studies and information. Check when the article or website was published. Being more than five years old isn’t necessarily bad, but look for the most recent articles you can find for the best shot at updated information.[21]
    Combine Two Internet Connections Step 3.jpg
    • For example, if you were writing a research paper on treatments for cancer, you wouldn’t want to use only articles from the 1970s, even if they were published in prestigious academic journals.
  4. Look for reliability and accuracy. There are many sources out there that claim to be fact-based but aren’t. Websites that appear to have a clear agenda are usually not good sources, because they may ignore or misrepresent evidence that disagrees with their position.
    Research Step 11.jpg
    • Look for the site’s sources. A credible internet site will cite its sources. A really great site may even link out to the original research articles so you can track them down. If you can’t find any references for the information provided, or if the references are out of date or poor quality, it’s a good sign that your site isn’t reliable.
    • Watch for bias. Highly emotional language, inflammatory rhetoric, and informal writing are all signs of potential bias in your source. Most academic writing tries to steer clear of these and aim for impartiality and objectivity as much as possible. If your website uses emotional language like “Manipulative big pharma companies are out to keep you broken and unhealthy to line their own pockets!” it’s a good sign that there is bias present.
    • Review each website for grammatical errors and broken links. If the website is credible and reliable, grammar and spelling should be accurate and all links should take you to the appropriate landing page. Websites with numerous grammatical errors and broken links may be copying their information from another source or may not be legitimate.

EditCompiling and Saving Your Sources

  1. Cite your sources. In order to avoid the same errors made by inaccurate sites, you should always document your sources. This will allow you to return to them later, if necessary, and will allow others (when applicable) to verify your sources themselves.
    Do a Research Paper Step 11.jpg
    • Bibliography entries for webpages traditionally consist of the author of the web article or webpage (if available), the title of the article or page, the name of the site, the site’s web address, and the date on which you accessed the article or page.
  2. Beware of the ephemeral nature of the web. Just because a source is there today doesn’t mean it’s going to be there tomorrow. In order to guard against making your research irrelevant, consider your options for preserving web pages.
    Research a Horse's Bloodline Step 10.jpg
    • The simplest way to save a webpage as you see it today is to print a hard copy or save it as a PDF.[22] This will allow you to refer back to the page, even if it’s moved or deleted.
    • Since a hard copy or PDF version will only be available to you, you should periodically check the links in your research if it is published on the web. If you discover a web page has been deleted or moved, you can keyword search for its new location in a search engine or check to see if it was archived by Archive.org’s Wayback Machine, which preserves web pages as they previously displayed.[23]
  3. Consider a technological fix. There are numerous free web browser features, apps, and services that can help you save your sources quickly and organize them easily.
    Add a Bookmark in Safari Step 2 Version 5.jpg
    • Using the bookmarks feature of your web browser is the simplest way to save sources. Rather than saving every source in the parent “Bookmarks” folder, consider creating subfolders for specific topics. For example, if you’re researching welfare, you might want to create a folder for “Welfare” in “Bookmarks” and then maybe even create more folders within “TANF,” “SNAP,” etc.
  4. Build your own archive. Beyond simple bookmarking features and apps, more advanced research software and services can help you create your own personal repository of sources.
    Do Qualitative Research Step 2 Version 4.jpg
    • Numerous services and apps have made it possible to sync sources to the cloud, capture images of web pages as they appear on the day you accessed them, add keywords to sources, etc.
    • Many of these services, such as Zotero, are freeware created by academics and other open-source advocates. Others, such as Pocket, offer some services for free and charge for others. If you need functions beyond your web browser’s standard bookmarking features, consider using one of these sources to make organizing your sources easier.

EditSources and Citations

Cite error: <ref> tags exist, but no <references/> tag was found

How to Do Internet Research
Source: How To Of The Day