What can you research on the Internet?
The Internet is more than a series of web pages.
You can search the Internet with "search engines," websites that have listings, or search
- portals or web centers that organize information and links
- websites devoted to particular topics, including text, graphics, movies, music files
- databases such as journals, newspapers or professional documents
- government documents, forms, laws, policies, etc.
- services and information by non-profit organizations and by for-profit businesses
- directories of names and personal information
- communications through e-mail
What limits my search?
Some information is
- in the "public domain" and can be freely accessed and used, such as government documents
- unrestricted for use by disclaimers within the website
- copyright protected, with restricted use determined by national and international laws
- not copyright protected since the copyright has expired
- conditionally protected with "copyright disclaimers" located on the web page/site
- limited in access by first registering, subscribing, or requiring personal information for use or access
- restricted by passwords
- intentionally excluded from search engines
All information should be properly cited. Refer to the Study Guide for links on citing your sources or the MLA (Modern Language Association) and APA (American Psychological Association) styles.How do I search the Internet?
- Narrow your topic and its description; pull out key words and categories
- Begin with known, recommended, expert, or reviewed websites
- Use a search engine: enter your key words
Find the best combination of key words to locate information you need;
Enter these in the search engine
- Review the number of options returned.
If there are too many websites, add more keywords.
If there are too few options, narrow/delete some keywords, or substitute other key words
- Review the first pages returned:
If these are not helpful, review your key words for a better description
- Use advanced search options in search engines:
Search options include
- Key word combinations, including Boolean strings
- Locations where key words are found, for example: in the title, 1st paragraphs, coded metadata
- Languages to search in
- Sites containing media files (images, videos, MP3/music, ActiveX, JAVA, etc.)
- Dates websites were created or updated
- Research using several search engines
Each search engine has a different database of websites it searches, some "Meta-Search" engines actually search other search engines. If one search engine returns few websites, another may return many.
- Evaluate the content of the websites you've found.
- Track your search:
List resources you checked, identify the resource, especially its location and the date you found it
- Monitor and evaluate your progress
- Get help if needed
adapted from Joe Landsberger