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Building a Library Research Strategy: Internet Searching

This guide will help students develop a research strategy for finding information for papers or projects.

Searching Google

  • Limit searches to domains 
  • Search exact phrases
  • Search for terms only in a part of a document, like the title
  • To search specific languages or in certain regions

Use Google Basic Search Help

Use Google Search Operators

Awesome Websites

Sometimes websites can provide excellent resources to support your ideas. Make sure you are checking the credibility of the internet source by checking with your instructor, a librarian, or by using tools for evaluating sources.

The following are a few reliable internet sources to try:

  • Allsides - Balanced news/ media bias 
  • Brookings Institution - Non-profit Public Policy. Researches societal issues.
  • Data.gov - Open data from the U.S. Government
  • Futurity - Research news from top universities
  • OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) - Provides evidence-based international data on a range of global issues 
  • Pew Research - Nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world.
  • Snopes.com - Fact checking site
  • World Factbook from the CIA - Provides information on the history, people and society, government, economy, energy, geography, communications, transportation, military, and transnational issues for 267 world entities.

SIFT method for evaluating information in a digital world

Check Your Feed with SIFT (the four moves - Stop, Investigate, Find, Trace)

STOP: 

  • Take a breath, check your reaction, pause, re-evaluate.
  • Ask yourself if you are certain the information is true.
  • Don't re-post, use, or share it until you know. 

undefinedINVESTIGATE: 

  • Look at the source. Who created the information?
  • Look into who is behind the post and think about why they might post that information.
  • Try looking in Wikipedia or on a fact checking site for the name, company, organization, story, or publisher. Or Google it!
  • Learn about the expertise, education, and/or the agenda of the producer of the information.

two hands holding a shield with a check mark in it FIND BETTER COVERAGE:

  • If the checking the source brings you to a questionable place, try looking in other, more reliable sources for similar information.
  • Look beyond the first few results.
  • Check in at least 3 different places.
  • If the information shows up in several reliable places, it is very likely accurate.

undefinedTRACE CLAIMS, QUOTES & MEDIA TO THE ORIGINAL CONTENT & CONTEXT:

  • Trace the content back to the original source.
  • Check the full context of the information -- was something left out or not included? 
****Please note that the College is on remote operations due to concerns related to Covid -19. Find out about Library Services during this time.
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