Researching with the Web

The internet is full of information to help you with homework and school projects. If you are looking for ways to improve your success with web research then keep on reading.

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Did your teacher just assign you a big research project or a homework assignment on a topic you don't know anything about? The Internet is a great starting point for your research.

Most students are aware of the capabilities of the World Wide Web, but are not sure on how to use the Internet to it's maximum potential.

When you are researching online, you need to be aware that anyone can publish a webpage. This means that material you find on a web site is not necessarily accurate. This can be discouraging, but there are steps you can take to see whether or not the information is accurate.

Search Engines

Once you understand that not everything on the web is not factual, you are ready to learn some techniques to help you sort through the thousands upon thousands of sites located on the World Wide Web. Some well known search engines include:

  • Google -
  • Yahoo -
  • MSN -

There are also some great search engines that are designed specifically for kids. This means the results will be tailored to fit your needs. Two search engines designed just for kids are:

  • KidsClick! -
  • Yahooligans -

Specialized Search Engines

There are also specialized types of search engines. These sites specialize in specific fields such as math, science, medicine, and even newspaper articles! Many of these engines require paid membership; however, universities and libraries often pay for this membership so you can use the computers at these institutions to access the specialized search engines.

If you need help finding the right search site for your needs, ask a librarian at a school or public library. Many librarians have received specialized training on computer and Internet research.

Search Engine Tips

There are also tips you can take when typing your search request into a search engine. If there's a specific phrase you're looking for, to get the best results put the phrase in quotation marks. For example, if you want to learn about a lunar eclipse, type it into the search engine as 'lunar eclipse'. If you do not use quotation marks, your results may include sites that are just about solar eclipses.

Include the words 'or' and 'not' in your search. If you type 'book not cartoon' into a search engine, then the list of results will exclude cartoon books. This can be handy when sorting through pages and pages of results.

Using an asterisk can also help when looking for web pages. Adding asterisks to the ends of words or partial words makes the search engine look for other words that have the same roots. For example, instead of looking for 'law' and 'lawyer' separately, you would type 'law*'. To find 'library' and 'libraries' you can type 'librar*'

Many search engines have advanced searches that will also help you find the exact pages you are looking for. Good luck with your searches!

Did you find this useful? If so, please let others know!

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