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Using the Internet for Research

A brief guide to efficiently and effectively using the internet for college-level research


Hello! As you have probably realized by now, the Internet is a great source for information. Where else can you get everything from shoe prices to movie reviews, or political discussion to how-to guides at all hours of the day and night? People spend a lot of time praising and cursing the internet, but it's not going anywhere anytime soon, so we might as well get along with it.

This guide is going to introduce you to the world of using the Internet for academic research, which is different from just surfing. We will talk about types of resources, ways to search efficiently, and specialized tools on the internet.

What's in this Guide?

A quick introduction to using the web for academic research, of course! It has four sections:

Getting Started -- Advice on what you need to do before you sit down and start typing in a search box. Trust me, taking a little time to get your thoughts in order and make a plan for research will go a long way toward saving you time and effort during the actual research.

Types of Search Tools -- Not all methods of searching on the web are created equal. Choosing the right tools and techniques, based on your area of research, can make the process easier and more effective.

Basic Searching -- These are techniques that you should always use. They include how to select keywords for more effective searches, how to find the best sources in a list of results, and how to evaluate what you do find. Taken as a whole, they will give you confidence that you have found relevant and accurate information.

Advanced Searching -- Special tools and techniques that can make your searching even faster and more effective once you have mastered the basics.

Good hunting!

Created by

Peter Larsen, 8/2010

Updated by Taylor St. Pierre, 5/2018

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.