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? 2. What do I know about Internet research?
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 too many results?? or no results at all?
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.
Keywords You must provide a word or set of words that will enable a computer to find matches, or “hits.” Example: What are the effects, if any, of televisionviolence on children? Keywords: effects television violence children
Boolean Operators • Connecting terms that give instructions to the computer AND OR NOT • Notice the capitalization – and is not the same as AND
television 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. violence
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.
kids children 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
television cable 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 NOT
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!
But – I found it on the Internet? Treasure... or Trash?
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
Credibility • 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
Accuracy • 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
Reasonableness • 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.
Support • 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 – http://www.easybib.com http://www.citationmaker.com
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!
Do you really want this man to have to Hunt You Down???
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