Your Study Guides and Strategies starts here!

The universe is full
of magical things,
patiently waiting for
our wits to grow sharper.
Eden Phillpotts 1862-1960
English poet/author

Reading and research series

Researching on the Internet

How do I search the Internet?

  • Narrow your topic and its description;
    identify and pull out key words, phrases and categories
  • Use a search engine: does it contain a directory of topics?
    Find the best combination of key words to locate information you need;
    Enter these in the search engine
  • Get assistance from your local research librarian
  • Refer to known, recommended, expert, or reviewed web sites
  • Refer to professional portals
    that may have directories or collections by topic
  • Review the number of options returned.
    If there are too many web sites, 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 web sites were created or updated
  • Research using several search engines
    Each search engine has a different database of web sites it searches
    Some "Meta-Search" engines actually search other search engines!
    If one search engine returns few web sites, another may return many!
  • Evaluate the content of the web sites you've found:
    Refer to the Study Guide "Evaluating web site content"
  • Track your search:
    List resources you checked; the date your checked them
    Identify the resource, especially its location and the date you found it
  • When printing, set your options to print the
    Title of the page | the Web address | the date printed

What are some resources?

  • Search engines
    Search Engine Colossus
    links to search engines from 148 countries
  • Directories that organize information and links
    • Open Directory Project
      a comprehensive human-reviewed directory of the web
    • IPL2
      features a searchable, subject-categorized directory of authoritative websites; links to online texts, newspapers, and magazines; and the Ask an ipl2 Librarian online reference service
    • Infomine
      a comprehensive virtual library and reference tool for academic and scholarly Internet resources, including Web sites, databases, electronic journals, bulletin boards, listservs, online library card catalogs, articles, directories of researchers, and other types of information
  • Web sites devoted to particular topics, including text, graphics, movies, music files.
    Examples include Internet Directory for Botany, Phone-soft Internet Directory International organic Chemistry, Stock photography (royalty free)
  • Government documents, forms, laws, policies, etc.
    U.S. Government Printing Office disseminates official information from all three branches of the United States Federal Government
  • Services and information by
    non-profit organizations and by for-profit businesses
  • LISTSERVs or discussion groups: L-Soft:
    browse any of the 50,686 public LISTSERV lists on the Internet, search for mailing lists of interest, and get information about LISTSERV host sites
  • Resources at your local (public) library
    These may require membership or registration
  • Newspaper, journal, magazine databases
    Often restricted to subscribers, require registration, or can be fee-based for access

International conventions of copyright govern the use and reproduction of all material: all information should be properly cited


Reading and research series

Reading critically | Pre-reading strategies | SQ3R reading method |
KWL reading method | Marking & underlining | Reading difficult material | Interpretive reading | Reading essays | Reading fiction | Narrator/character types |
Speed and comprehension | Researching on the Internet | Evaluating websites |
Organizing research: computers | Organizing research: note cards

Flash exercise contributed by Gustav Holz and Dr. Brad Hokanson, Graphic Design I (DHA 5341) School of Design, University of Minnesota