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A Discussion about EFFECTIVE Internet Research … in a few easy steps!
In 2010 Dulcinea Media surveyed 300 middle school and high school students in New York…
T HEYASKED… How did you begin your search? Almost half the students chose “I type a question” and if the search doesn’t give you “good” results… “I try another search engine” and if you still can’t find the answer? “I just think really hard for an answer”
… or I just punch the computer. … Just kidding, that wasn’t a possible answer
How do decide if an online article is a good source to use for your work? “If it has the information I need, then it’s good for me” “If it sounds good, I know it’s right, and it has good vocab” “I don’t know” / “I just go with it”
How often do you check the author of an article? About 2/3 of students chose “rarely or never” “It doesn’t matter who wrote it”
How often do you check to see when the article was written or updated? Half of high school students and about ¾ of middle school students say they “rarely or never” check the date of an article If they do – it’s at the end of their project when they are citing their sources.
Reflect for a moment… How often do you do these things when researching for your school work?
Step 1: Where to Search • Use library databases! (IAM library website) • Try sweetsearch.com : A search engine for students • Investigate the LINKS from the Wikipedia articles to see they are reliable sources, but NOT use information directly from Wikipedia • Know that many websites (like google) rank websites high for reasons unrelated to their content or quality • Don’t stop at the first page of search results!
Step 2: Think Before You Search • “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll probably end up somewhere else.” – Yogi Berra • Think about what results you expect to find before you start your search • Think about where the best place to look might be…the answer is NOT always Google! • Disregard any search results that are from sources that are OBVIOUSLY unreliable • > ask.com / yahooanswers / Wikipedia
Step 3: Make Search Engines Work for You! • Use connectors AND / OR • Use “quotation marks” when searching for proper names, places or phrases. • Use the AROUND function • Search “Kennedy” (AROUND) “moon” and the results will show articles that have “Kennedy” within ten words of “moon”
Step 4: Don’t believe everything you read! • Act like a detective • A healthy does of skepticism and disbelief is required in a good researcher! • Remember – Information is only as good as it’s source! • ALWAYS verify critical information with various sources it takes time, but it’s necessary!
Step 5: Find PRIMARY Sources • Photos • Diaries • Newspaper articles • Video clips • And other “eyewitness accounts” • These are often more reliable than second-hand information, because they allow you to draw your own conclusions!
Step 6: Who Published the Article? • Do editors or experts review the information • Is it thorough? Does it give specific details? • Does the author and/or publish have a well-established reputation? • Search their names in a search engine and check their credentials! • If there is not author or publisher – consider it unreliable and verify the information somewhere else! • EVEN IF IT “LOOKS” and “SOUNDS” REALLY GOOD!
Step 6 (cont.) • Be critical of websites that have advertisements blended with their content • Be wary of sites containing words like: • Free, discount, best, your, web, answers, ask…
Step 7: Why Was the Article Written? • Always ask yourself the question above ^ • Does the website have any social or political biases? Are they trying to sell you something? Example: whitehouse.org is not a reliable source for unbiased information on presidents…
Step 8: When Was the Information Written, Published, and/or Revised? • ALWAYS determine when the article was written, and how current the information is, before deciding whether to use it. • If you can’t find a date, confirm the currency of the information with another reliable source!
The End! With your partner – reflect on what you have learned, and think about how you will approach your research differently in the future!
Source • This presentation was roughly based on a presentation originally created by Mark E Moran and Sharron A Firth of Dulciena Media, a NY based company dedicated to teaching students and educators how to use the Internet safely and effectively. More Info: http://www.findingdulcinea.com/guides/Technology/Internet/Dulcineas-Guide-to-Searching-on-the-Web.pg_00.html#00