Four things you need to know for effective and efficient internet research



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FOUR THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW

FOR EFFECTIVE AND EFFICIENT INTERNET RESEARCH
Don’t know where to begin?

Go to www.rbhsmediacenter.org/pathfinders and click on Middle Ages/Renaissance



  1. Know How to Refine Your Research

Use key words – don’t use complete sentences
Put your phrases in quotation marks

ex: “Elizabethan theatre”


Use the Boolean search term AND

ex: “Elizabethan theatre” AND “special effects”

ex: “Medieval weaponry”
If your first search gives you few results, try similar or more specific terms

ex: Instead of “Medieval celebrations,” try “Medieval weddings” or “Medieval birthdays”




  1. Know How to Read Your Results Page

Why not wiki? Answers.com? About.com?
Not all school sites equally strong. Watch out for the “little kid” sites experts “out of their field”

.k12 .edu .edu~mccutcheon


Beware of .com sites that sell Medieval/Renaissance merchandise



  1. Know How to Recognize the REALLY Good Websites

Authority – Good sites are sponsored by reputable organizations and/or authored by reputable individuals who list credentials, contact information, and/or mission statements. They also give credit for all sources used.
Currency – Good sites are updated frequently
Accuracy – Good sites have no typos. Their information can also be corroborated in other sources (print and electronic)
Objectivity – Good sites may reflect only one side of an argument, but they don’t use inflammatory

language
Audience – Some very good sites are aimed at young children. Some very good sites are written for graduate students or scientists. A good site for YOUR research is appropriate for high school students.



  1. Know Where to Look for Citation Information


Author

If there is an individual author, the name will likely be either at the top of the article under the title or at the end of the article.
The webmaster is NOT the author.
Many excellent government, organization, or university web sites and web pages have no individual author.
Article Title vs. Web Page vs. Web Site

A WEB PAGE or ARTICLE is specific and can be compared to a chapter in a book or an article in a magazine. Think: “The Perfect Gift for Your Perfect Guy” in Seventeen Magazine.


A WEB SITE can be compared to a book or magazine. A web site is made up of many different web pages.
To determine the title of the web site, watch the upper left corner and click through to several pages on the site. The name of the site is often in the same place on each page.
Publisher or Sponsor of the Site

Often you will find the publisher or sponsor listed at the bottom of the page in small print next to the copyright date. Sometimes you have to click on the About Us button at either the top or the bottom of the page. Sometimes you will need to click on the Home button to figure out who the publisher/sponsor is.


Copyright or Last Update

On web pages, you usually will not find a date and month included in the copyright.


Again, you will likely find the copyright date at the bottom of any page. If not, click on the About Us button or the Home button to look for copyright. If you find a range 2009-2013, use the most recent year.
The URL

The citation for an Internet source should include the URL for the page you are using – not for the whole site.


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