In addition to books and journals, Web sites can be a valuable source of information as long as you use caution and judgment. For guidance in choosing Internet sources, see Evaluating Print and Internet Resources. The following Web sites are recommended:
Annie E. Casey Foundation in Baltimore, publisher of the renown KIDS COUNT DATA BOOK. The 2007 edition, the 18th annual, is now available free online. Tracks benchmarks of child and family well-being in the U.S. over time. Includes interactive databases and display tools to create customized charts at the national, state, county, and city-level.
Child Care and Early Education Research Connections is an index to literature about children, birth through age 8 and--when addressing school-age child care--through age 13. Content includes the child care and early education workforce, parents and families, service settings, and early learning policies. Good source for statistics. Some full-text documents, but if not available, check the Library's catalog.
Children's Defense Fund is a long-time advocate for children, particularly poor and minority children and those with disabilities. Good source of free online information.
Congressional Research Service Reports, CRS is the public policy arm of Congress and does research for its members. Now many of its reports are available free online in PDF format through this searchable database from the University of North Texas. You can search or browse by subject, including the category "Children".
Forum on Child and Family Statistics (childstats.gov) is a working group of Federal agencies that collect, analyze, and report data on issues related to children and families. The Forum has partners from 22 Federal agencies as well as partners in private research organizations.
FPG Child Development Institute, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, also focuses on children from birth through age 8. It publishes technical assistance materials on topics such as quality child care, personnel preparation, parent leadership, transitions, and inclusion. Many documents are available free online in PDF format. Select the Products button on the right.
Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) is an advocacy group for members of the PreK-12 school community struggling with issues of sexual orientation and gender identity. The Educators Resources Page offers lesson plans, curricular tools, information on teacher trainings, a list of local chapters and student clubs, a library of free online resources, and a book shop.
Go Ask Alice from Columbia University. Answers teens' questions about relationships; sexuality; sexual health; emotional health; fitness; nutrition; alcohol, nicotine, and other drugs; and general health.
KidsHealth from the Nemours Foundation. Doctor-approved health information about children from before birth through adolescence, with separate areas for kids, teens, and parents.
Kids Off the Couch is designed to pique the interest of media-addicted youngsters by linking cultural activities in the L.A. area to a related movie. Subscribers to this free service receive weekly emails with a suggested "Popcorn Adventure", including a lesson plan with discussion questions, tips for parents, and facts about the movie/activity.
MedlinePlus from the National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health. Excellent source of consumer-level information on many diseases and conditions, with categories for Children and for Teenagers. Also provides links to MEDLINE searches, a medical encyclopedia and dictionary, Spanish-languange materials, prescription and nonprescription drugs, and numerous links to other websites.
National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) (http://www.naeyc.org/) promotes educational services for children from birth through age 8. It administers a prestigious accreditation system for preschools, kindergartens, and child care centers. Good source of information on critical issues, research and reports, etc.
Teaching Tolerance from the Southern Poverty Law Center. Provides educators with free educational materials that promote respect for differences and appreciation of diversity. There is also content for kids, teens, and parents. Publisher of the award-winning magazine Teaching Tolerance (http://www.tolerance.org/teach/magazine/index.jsp).
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has a Families & Children Web page and an online Reference Collection. The HHS Administration for Children and Families also offers statistics, data, research, and publications http://www.acf.hhs.gov/.
Evaluating Internet Resources
Internet resources should be evaluated to determine their credibility and relevance to your topic before selecting them for a research assignment. Use the criteria below to help you evaluate these resources.
Internet address (URL) domain extensions can be used to help determine authority and objectivity. A more complete list of top-level domains is also available.
.gov - Government. The intent of the site is to present official information collected by or about the workings of a government.
.edu - Educational institution. The intent of the site is to educate as well as present information collected by or about the educational institution.
.com - Commercial. The intent of the site is to sell goods or services, as well as provide information about the company.
.org - Organization, usually non-profit. The intent of the site is to present information collected by or about the organization. Sometimes, the intent of the site is to promote a particular point of view.
.net - Network, usually personal Web pages. The intent of the site is as varied as the individual(s) responsible for the content.
Who Created the Information?
What are the qualifications of the author or organization responsible for the content of the resource?
What are the author's education and/or experience?
Is it a reputable Web site? Is there an "about us" link on the Web page that provides information about the organization?
Is it a commercial, governmental, educational or personal Web site? Often the URL domain's extension (.com, .edu, etc.) gives you a clue about the site.
Look for the author's biography or information about the responsible organization within the Web page itself or use the sources below to find out more about people and organizations:
Information on People:
- Biography Index 1984 - present
- Gale Virtual Reference Library (Encyclopedia of World Biography)
Information on Organizations:
- Idealist.org - information about foundations
Content & Coverage
- Who is the audience for the Web site (scholarly or general)?
- Is the information primary or secondary in nature?
- Does it provide general background information or in-depth information on a specific topic? Which do you need?
- Does the page link to other reputable websites/organizations? Is there a bibliography or list of cited references and how extensive is it?
- Is there a date anywhere on the Web page, such as date created, last update, etc.?
- How up-to-date are citations, if any? Are the links broken?
- How current does the information need to be for your topic or assignment?
- Is it a commercial, governmental, educational, personal Web site or blog?
- Is it a community site in which any individual can make changes to such as Wikipedia?
- Can you find the same information in another source?
- Determine whether the information is fact, opinion or propaganda.
- Are there links or references to show the source of the facts or quotes?
- Does the Web site have a particular bias?
- Are opinions or propaganda easy to recognize?
- Do the words and phrases play to your emotions or bias the content?
- Are there advertisements that suggest the information might be biased toward selling a product rather than providing objective information?
- Can you determine from the Web site's address (URL) a particular bias? Often the URL domain's extension (.com, .edu, etc.) gives you a clue about the site.