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Internet Searching  

This guide teaches strategies for searching the Internet and provides a list of tools that can be used.
Last Updated: Jul 10, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Searching the Internet

There is a tremendous amount of information available on the Internet, ranging from commercial information, to scholarly publications, to white papers and information from non-governmental organizations. The Internet is an indispensable resource for researchers, but it also presents challenges:

  • The Internet provides access to an overwhelming number of sources, and determining whether information is accurate or not can be challenging.
  • Most Internet sources have not gone through the traditional publishing process, so you must take special care in evaluating them.
  • Internet sources vary in the bibliographic information they provide, which can cause problems when you are trying to cite and reference sources.

It is important to approach the Internet as you would any other information resource. Think carefully about what you are trying to find before beginning your search. These tips can help:

  • Have a search strategy, and be prepared to adjust it as you learn more about what is available on your topic. For information on constructing a search strategy that a search engine will understand, follow this link.
  • Think of all the terms that you may use to describe the concepts in your topic. Make a list of these before you begin searching so that you can work your way through them as you search.

Remember that starting your research with an Internet search engine is not always the best strategy. It can be useful to do so in order to get a sense of the kind of material that is out there, but you should always search library collections, including catalogues for books and videos, and databases for journal articles.

Remember to think critically!

How to use this guide:

This guide has been broken into several sections, each of which are accessible using one of the tabs above. We have tried to cover all the major topics related to web searching. If you have questions or comments, please contact AU Library.

Athabasca University Library
Hours: Monday-Friday 8:30am-4:30pm (MT)
Phone: (800) 788-9041, ext. 6254


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