Internet research is the practice of using Internet information, especially free information on the World Wide Web, or Internet-based resources (like internet discussion forum) in research.
Research is a broad term. Here, it is used to mean “looking something up (on the Web)”. It includes any activity where a topic is identified, and an effort is made to actively gather information for the purpose of furthering understanding. It may include some post-collection analysis like a concern for quality or synthesis.
Internet research can provide quick, immediate, and worldwide access to information, although results may be affected by unrecognized bias, difficulties in verifying a writer’s credentials (and therefore the accuracy or pertinence of the information obtained) and whether the searcher has sufficient skill to draw meaningful results from the abundance of material typically available. The first resources retrieved may not be the most suitable resources to answer a particular question. Popularity is often a factor used in structuring Internet search results but popular information is not always most correct or representative of the breadth of knowledge and opinion on a topic.
While conducting commercial research fosters a deep concern with costs, and library research fosters a concern with access, Internet research fosters a deep concern for quality, managing the abundance of information and with avoiding unintended bias. This is partly because Internet research occurs in a less mature information environment: an environment with less sophisticated / poorly communicated search skills and much less effort in organizing information. Library and commercial research has many search tactics and strategies unavailable on the Internet and the library and commercial environments invest more deeply in organizing and vetting their information.