Internet Searching

Web research can be an important part of your research process. However, be careful that you use only the highest quality sources that are returned on your general web search. Your paper is only as good as the sources you use within it, so if you use sources which are not written by experts in their field, you may be including misinformed or incorrect information in your paper.

As a general rule, one site to avoid is Wikipedia, which is not considered a quality source for academic writing. While this site is fine for looking up information in a casual way and gaining a better understanding of a subject, it is not recommended for academic writing since information can sometimes be incorrect since the content is user-generated, rather than peer reviewed and written by experts; peer reviewed and works written by experts can be found in academic journals, news articles, magazines, or published books. It is also considered more of a “general knowledge” source, and academic writing favors sources with more specific information.

Still, when you are researching on the web, search engines are effective tools for locating web pages relevant to your research, and they can save you time and frustration. However, for searches to yield the best results, you need a strategy and some basic knowledge of how search engines work. Without a clear search strategy, using a search engine is like wandering aimlessly in a field of corn looking for the perfect ear.

Click on the presentation below to learn more techniques with internet and database searching.

Grumble... Applaud... Please give us your feedback!