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Conducting Online Research How to Locate and Evaluate Internet Resources Can you search effectively? Many people know a lot about technology but NOT a lot about how to search the Internet! Do I know how to be a good, efficient searcher? Considerations: 1. Am I using the best source?

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Conducting Online Research

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Conducting Online Research

How to Locate and Evaluate Internet Resources


Can you search effectively?

Many people know a lot about technology but NOT a lot about how to search the Internet!

do i know how to be a good efficient searcher
Do I know how to be a good, efficient searcher?


1. Am I using the best source?

2. What do I know about Internet research?

internet research involves
Internet Research involves:
  • Search engines
  • Gathering information
  • Website– treasure or trash?
  • Crediting sources (avoiding plagiarism – no copying)
  • Organizing
  • Synthesizing info (putting it together)
  • Presenting what you have learned

Ever try to locate information online

and you get


many results??


no results at all?

keyword searching
Keyword searching
  • Powerful if done correctly.
  • Very fast.
  • Used with search engines on the Internet.

The Big Mistake

Usually, people use search terms that are too broad. This will produce too many results that are not relevant to your topic.


You must provide a word or set of words that will enable a computer to find matches, or “hits.”


What are the effects, if any, of televisionviolence on children?

Keywords: effects

television violence


boolean operators
Boolean Operators
  • Connecting terms that give instructions to the computer


  • Notice the capitalization – and is not the same as AND
boolean operators and


Boolean Operators: AND

AND allows you to combine terms:

television AND violence

ANDis a limiting search

This will access results pertaining to BOTH television and violence viewed on TV.


assignment research a college or school post secondary education
Assignment – Research a college or school (post-secondary education)

Art AND college

Art AND school

This will find records pertaining to art colleges and art schools.

boolean operators or



Boolean operators: OR
  • OR allows you to search for similar terms
  • OR expands the search

Teens involved in car accidents – search for – Teens OR adolescents AND car accidents

Using OR between search terms

boolean operators not



Boolean Operators: NOT
  • NOT allows you to exclude terms
  • NOT is a limiting search.

Assignment – Research dolphins, their habitat, physical characteristics, etc.

Dolphins NOT Miami


phrase searching
Phrase Searching
  • VERY USEFUL searching TIP!!!
  • Using quotation marks “two words”

Tell the computer to look for two or more words together:

“television violence”

“acid rain”

“Red River Valley”

“Red River Valley of the North”


Search StringA search string is one word or a string of words that you ask a Search Engine to use so it can find that specific piece of information online.


With these search techniques,

you will save time…

and be more successful in obtaining the results you need!

why do we need to evaluate web sources
Why do we need to evaluate web sources?
  • Virtually any person can publish almost anything on the Internet.
  • Unlike most print sources, web sources do not have to be professionally accepted and edited to be published.

Before clicking on the link, look to see if it is a personal page. Check out the domain name or the “dots”:

.gov = Hosted by a U.S. government agency

.com = For-profit business, personal sites

.edu = Educational organization

.org = Nonprofit organization

.net = Hosted by a network

.biz = Business site (newer than .com)

.ac = Academic organization (outside the United States)

~ = personal webpage


Try the C.A.R.S. evaluation checklist:

C – Credibility

A – Accuracy

R –Reasonableness

S - Support



  • Who is the author?
  • What are the author’s credentials – experience, education, training – in the field related to this information?
  • Has the author provided contact information?
  • Appearance of site – looks professional, pictures and/or graphics, organized, neat

Warning signs:

Anonymous Information

Misspellings, faulty links, messy appearance



  • When was this material compiled or created, and when was it presented? Is it recent?
  • Is this a comprehensive presentation of the thinking and the facts related to this topic?
  • For whom and for what purpose (advocacy, information, persuasion) is this information intended?

Warning signs:

Out-of-date or undated information, expired links, inaccurate or overly generalized information, biased information



  • Does this author argue points fairly and dispassionately?
  • Is the material presented objectively, or is it slanted and bias?
  • Does the information make sense, given what I know of the world? Is it believable?
  • Does the information contradict itself?

Warning signs:

Manipulative or emotional language, one-sided information, a conflict of interest between the source and the objectivity of the information.



  • Has the author provided documentation –a bibliography (list of works or resources) for this information?
  • Can you find at least two other sources that support the data presented?

Warning signs

Lack of documentation of claims, information that contradicts other reliable sources of information, positions on issues that you already know to be faulty.


Additional Information to remember –

Cite your sources, clip art, photos. Give credit where credit is due!

The media center has baskets with Cite Slips that you can use to document.

You can also find sites online that document for you –


Practice safety when online!

If you are on MySpace, consider making your page private. Never put personal information on the Internet – such as where you attend school or where you live. This could be very dangerous. It is best to keep your personal information private to everyone in the cyberworld. You never know who you are really “chatting” with!


Review – Putting it all Together

When searching the Internet, use keyword searches to access the fastest, most relevant results.

Look at the “dots.” What type of webpage is it?

Use the C.A.R.S method to evaluate the page – Credibility, Accuracy, Reasonableness, Sources

Document your information

Use safety and good, ole’ common sense when working or playing online