Effective internet research

The internet has more information than we could ever read, so it is important that we search effectively and evaluate websites we find, so that the information we use is accurate.

To search well

1. Use good keywords- do not write in/copy the whole sentence into Google- you are asking Google to find a site with every word that you have typed. If there is a perfect site, however it  does not use the exact word you have typed in your question, then this site will not register.

Think of a few different keywords before you search. A key word identifies the focus of your search or broadens or narrows your search.

You can use a phrase like "Polynesian history" so that both words must be found in the result not just the word history and the word Polynesian gets ignored.

2. Use Google Advanced Search to choose .org or .edu in the Domain search .com=commercial site, .org=organization, .edu= education site, .gov= government site. Dot edu and dot gov sites are very reliable because they have been compiled for use in education and are non commercial.

3. Try different search engines like:

InstaGrok is an educational search engine that presents searches as a concept map. You can choose the difficulty level that you wish to search at and it also has great quizzes to help with revision.

IPL2 is a search engine that filters results to only find sites that have been checked to be accurate by librarians around the world.

Fuse the link to this site is on the Portal, go to the Secondary Students tab at the top. all of these websites have been approved by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development.

When you find a site that you think would be a good site to use because it it about your topic, check a few things first- there are lost of fan websites, websites other kids had to make for assignments, sites that want to sell you something and websites from groups that have a particular bias.


4. How to evaluate a website

For a website to be credible it should have the following items:

1. Name: The name of the Author or Company (can sometimes be found down the bottom of the page next to a copyright symbol, or in the About us section on a website.)

2. Credentials: Does the author have any specific experience or qualification in that field? Actually read what the credentials are and if they do not match the topic well, then discard the site. If the site is a published by a group, organization or company, go to the 'About us' page to find out if they are legitimate or educational.

3. Looks Professional: Does the website contain ads, spelling mistakes, pictures without captions, has it been updated in the past 4 years? Ads can sometimes be alright but lots of popups can make the site frustrating to use. Spelling mistakes and pictures without captions show that the person may be an amateur, and that the site has not been updated recently. It may mean that the information is now incorrect.

Good things to check as well

Copy and Paste test: Copy and paste a sentence from the site into Google; does the exact text come up on any other sites? If so, which site owns the material? Check both and make a decision on which site to use.

 Bibliography: Is there  bibliography at the bottom of the page or any citations? (references to other material) If the website belongs to a company it may not have a bibliography or any citations because they have employed someone to create the material. Good sites made by organizations and authors will often have a bibliography. This helps you to know that the information is correct.

Sources used to compile this list are EasyBib http://content.easybib.com/students/writing-guide/ii-research/c-evaluating-sources-for-credibility/#.U58IFo3bahM

through the InstaGrok pop up -Evaluate the source for credibility


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