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Types of Websites: Home

Education

Education websites are usually created by educational institutions, such as colleges and universities, but can also include websites that are trying to get information to the user. In the case of many schools, the goal is to get information on the school to the student or potential student. However, many educational institutions or companies are also trying to provide educational information. This is often done through enrollment or subscription. 

Non-Profit

Non-profit organizations cover a wide variety of topics and causes. While many non-profits used to end in .org, some now end in .com. Non-profits are usually biased towards their cause and while they can contain a lot of useful information, this needs to be taken into consideration. Non-profit websites are also usually geared towards receiving donations. 

Business/Company & eCommerce

Almost every business or company will have a website. On these, you will find information about the company itself. This could include company practice, history, locations, etc. Keep in mind that companies aren't going to tell you anything bad about themselves, so you can assume that these have bias. Just like the non-profit websites, this does not mean that there won't be useful information on the sites, just that you need to take bias into consideration when using it as a source for classes. For example, if you are writing about sustainable practices and a company doesn't have any information on what their practices are, then their production might be very harmful. However, they aren't going to put that on their website because it might not be well received. It's important to take note of what isn't stated on a business website, as well as what is stated. 

A business website could also include eCommerce. This means that you can purchase items directly through the website. 

Blogs

While Blog Posts often can appear on websites of reputable organizations or schools, it's also important to remember that Blogs can be written by anyone. They are usually considered more informal and do not go through any type of review process like scholarly articles are, no matter where they are posted. 

This does not mean that Blog posts can't be used as sources in your papers, but it is vital to fact-check, look into the author, and look into the organization that is posting the blog. Blogs are notorious for being more biased and, very often, are opinion pieces. Blogs are also often sponsored. Make sure that whoever is sponsoring the Blog you are looking at isn't someone who has an agenda with the topic. For example, you would never want to take advice on a Chevrolet truck on a blog that is sponsored by Ford.

 

Social Media & Forums

Social Media, in various forms, dominates society today. Occasionally, you may find a post of various Social Media sites that you would like to include in your paper. It's one way to access either the subject or the authors first-hand views on a subject, among other things. Not all instructors will allow you to use Social Media posts. Make sure that with the ones that do, it is not the only source that you rely on. Social Media will not have the depth needed for a college level paper.

Social Media is not fact-checked in any official capacity, so make sure that you are verifying that the information in whatever post you are using is accurate. Anyone can say anything of Facebook or Twitter and images are altered all the time using Photoshop technology. Do not take anything at face value, especially if using it for a paper.

It's important to note that on social media, and especially Forums, that people can and will post things anonymously or under a false identity. It is not a good idea to use something like this in a paper because with no accountability, you have no reason to trust the information being provided. It would be a much better idea to find a legitimate source.