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The Internet can be a excellent, useful tool to make researching any topic easier.
However, there are a few steps you should follow when using the Internet.
Steps to Effectively Use the Internet for Research
Step 1. Having a Web Browser.
The Internet can be used as an effective tool for research. There are millions of websites
out in the World Wide Web, but to finding your way around the internet can be a frustrating
experience. To try to limit your searching frustration have an update-to-date
web browser. Common web browsers used are Microsoft Internet Explorer, Google and Bing.
They are equally good at helping you navigate the internet - it is just a matter of
personal taste which to use. It is important to have your browser up-to-date, as an older
browser may not be able to open current websites or access all the information a site has to
offer. With that said, let's surf. To begin searching, write down information or have a mental
note of what you are looking. The internet has many search engines which can make getting
information a breeze. My personal favorite search engines are Yahoo
and Google. Go to my Interesting Links
page for a listing of different search engines and many other helpful sites.
Step 2. Getting the information from the World Wide Web.
Once you have picked your browser and search engine, here are a few manys to search more effectively. Type in
the keyword and click search (go -or- enter). This will give a listing of websites related
to your keyword. But, this can give you a lot of websites that are NOT what your looking for. For
example, if you are researching President George Washington, if you type in the word - Washington
- you will get millions of web pages relateed to just the word - Washington.
You need to narrow down your search. By typing "George Washington" in the quotes, it will
narrow your search related to President George Washington. By typing "President
George Washington" once again, in the quotes, it will narrow your search even further.
Using quotations and narrowing down your topic can
save you a lot time searching. Also, another effective way to search is by using a plus sign if
front of each search word. For example, type in +General +George +Washington. The search
engine will look for web pages with the "string" of words (in the order you put them).
Now that you found some web sites, that can help you with your research, you need to save the
site's location. By saving the web site, it will save you the trouble of searching for the site
over and over again. Using Microsoft Internet Explorer, you can save the site in Favorites.
Click on Favorites and hit Add to Favorites. The same is true with Netscape, however, Netscape
calls your saved sites - Bookmarks.
Another way to research a topic is by using an online site or store. For example, if you
are starting your research on, for example, The Civil War, Go to Amazon
(the online store). Using their search tool, go to Books and type in the subject The Civil War. Hit
the search button and now you have tons of books dealing with you topic. Give it a try.
You don't have to buy the books, just right down the titles and authors and then head to the library.
Step 3. What do I believe on the Internet?
Now that you did the research, what are you suppose to believe as true? Anyone can create
a website and put information in it. I could make a page stating, "George Washington was the
President of France." Which websites can you trust to give you truthful information? These are
tough questions to answer. However, putting information on the internet can be a time-consuming
process. A majority of websites try their best to have their facts straight. Websites created by
government agencies or educational institutions are your best places for accurate information --
but mistakes are made. I have seen different websites have different information and I've also
seen inaccurate facts from one page to another, within the SAME website. Your best bet is to get
as many sites on a topic and compare, just as you would with an encyclopedia, books, and magazines.
Step 4. Giving credit.
Just like using any hard-copy source (books, newspapers, magazines, etc.) you have to give
credit to the source of the information. Copy the website down and make sure you mention the source
in your paper. This can be done as a footnote (at the bottom of the page) or an endnote (at the
end of the report). By putting the footnote or endnote you are letting the reader know where you
got your information and helps them find the website.
For more information on how to have a safe, secure experience using the Internet
Internet Safety and Security
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