Starting a search for information on the internet can be overwhelming. You think you are doing the right thing when you enter in your question on a search engine, but then you get millions of results and you don’t know where to start to find out exactly what you need.
The key to getting the right information is to define what you actually need and then take advantage of the features that many search engines offer. The search engine you use will depend on what you really need to find out.
- If you need understand the entire scope of a subject you can start with a site such as Intute or INFOMINE. These are both good websites for searching academic subjects.
- If you need to expand your scope and find topics that are related to yours you can use Googles “related searches” or their “wonder wheel”. Bing will also give you ideas for searches that are related to your subject.
- If you need to narrow down your subject you can look on websites such as Wikipedia to learn more about a topic and then pick one aspect to focus on. Surfwars is also a good site where you can enter in your query and then click on “focus” to show topics that are related.
- If you are looking for a controversial issue to research or write about, try going to Google’s “Hot Topics”. IDEA Portal is also a good website that shows both the pros and the cons for many controversial subjects.
- If you are looking to gather information on the background of a certain subject, you can start with Wikipedia.
All these are good places to start, but you should always use a number of different sources when you are gathering information. Make sure you get back up information and sources for user generated websites such as Wikipedia.