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Internet Research Tips to Help You Find What You Need

by Geek Insider Staff

Advances in technology and internet connectivity have turned our computers and phones into libraries. You no longer need to visit the nearest library in your community for information. As long as you have a smartphone, tablet, or computer and internet connectivity, you can find every bit of information online. 

Now that the internet is flocked with all sorts of information, you need to learn some easy skills to maneuver and find the desired results. Sometimes finding the correct information might be a hassle as most sites address a similar issue making it hard to discern which information you should trust. Worry no more, as we’ve compiled five crucial tips that will direct you to what you need. 

  1. Make Google Your Friend

Before the modern search engines and the internet came to be. People had to conduct research perusing documents manually. The process involved going through stacks of index cards and familiarizing with the library catalog system to focus on a specific field and find the correct information as quickly as possible. The quickest people could find massive information was weeks, and it was pretty a daunting task, especially if you didn’t know the author or the title of a book addressing the issue. 

Now the table has changed, and research has been simplified. You only need to type down the keyword on Google, and the most relevant results will appear on your screen. If you need specific results, the Google search operator comes in handy. Suppose you want to search for something published on a website, published within a date range, or even reverse search an image. You can do so by including operators in your keyword. As a result, the detailed search would help Google know what to include and exclude in your results. 

  1. Check Wikipedia

Yes, you read that right. Apparently, academic professors are fond of discrediting Wikipedia, claiming it isn’t reliable. The professors discourage students from using the site as their primary source or believing whatever they read there. The main reason for this backlash is that Wikipedia is open-source, meaning that anyone can make an account and change the contents. 

The site remains unaccepted by most institutions despite developing systems to ensure accuracy in every information posted there. However, that does not imply that Wikipedia is useless. You can scrutinize the information posted on the site by checking whether it correlates with the source provided. Besides, you may not rely on the information, but you can use the provided sources as your own to cast out doubts on your findings. 

Wikipedia also plays a significant role as a jumping-off point for your study. For example, if you want to learn about the life of a prominent figure, you can follow through with available articles on Wikipedia and focus on the key points about their life. From there, you can use the notes to build your own research as your check other sources. 

As you finish your research, the most important thing is to cite reliable sources comprising supporting documents to ascertain your argument. 

  1. Contact the Author

Contacting the author is handy if the information you need is behind a paywall. It’s crucial to keep in touch with the author, especially if you’re doing academic research. You don’t need to despair or pay through the nose for access when you can easily email the author of the book or paper and direct some questions their way. 

Of course, you have to be courteous enough to introduce yourself and let the author know what research you’re conducting before emailing them out of the blue and demanding answers. Once they respond to your email, you can now let them know why you contacted them and inquire if you could ask them a few questions. 

If they respond positively, start asking your questions and move the conversation well to see whether the author can provide copies of their research papers. Reaching this point with the author would be a big win for you to build your network and improve credentials in your research field. 

  1. Open Links Attached in Your Source

Once you type in your keyword and hit search, numerous articles appear with precisely what you need or information related to your search word. Most of these articles quote someone with a link to emphasize the statement or provide statistics. Open these links to see what information is embedded and understand context delivery. 

If you are researching arising events, you are likely to find the information on news outlets. The media usually links statements or events to the social media post that triggered the news. Click on these links for a 100% surety about the integrity of the site and the information.

Note that you can find substantiated information from social media as companies and CEOs expand their presence there. You can use the information as a reliable source as long as it comes from the company’s verified account. 

After all, major companies like Samsung and Microsoft make manor announcements on social media platforms like YouTube. You can follow these companies and CEOs for updates to simplify your research. 

For example, Twitter followers of Microsoft’s VP and GM are the first to learn of any arising matters. They were the first to know that the company was shipping 12th-generation processors to laptop manufacturers after the VP posted the news on Twitter last year. Those who weren’t following the GM on the social media site missed this vital information until it was broadcasted elsewhere. 

  1. Know What Source is Reliable

This is something you need to know when you’re conducting your research. Is the source reliable? How would you tell? Check whether your source has supporting documents to back up the arguments or whether they are peer-reviewed. 

Back in the day, researchers acquired most of the information from major institutions and news organizations. It means that the readily available information was properly vetted as the sites couldn’t risk destroying their reliability and reputation. 

Today, anyone can publish anything on the internet even without certainty about their claims. Therefore, you should be extra cautious about what you read online as sites know how to attract attention and gather popularity making the claims look legit while they are not.

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