Top 10 tips for conducting effective internet research
The information you choose to use is important - whether you're a student seeking to ace your next project or a professional who is to deliver a brilliant presentation. To do this, you must carefully consider the sources you'll use and the best way to conduct your study. To assist you in doing so, below are our top ten suggestions for conducting efficient internet research.
1) Identify a topic that sticks
You will be the only one to decide what topic you wish to work on. The first and most important rule of topic selection is to pick something you are personally interested in and to provide your reader with excellent material.
2) Be open to different ideas
Instead of just trying to prove what you already believe, your research should aim to provide answers to your questions. Being selective is essential, but avoid to seek confirmation only or you won’t get the full picture.
3) Verify the reliability of your sources
If a source is reliable, the author should be named. You can do background research on him or her and thus check the credibility of the source. For example, many professors or doctors who write solid sources have their CV on their university's website, where you can see their academic and professional history, as well as other publications. Other indicators of a reliable source are, for example, information about the place and date of publication or a secure URL connection.
4) Compare sources
Compare the information you found to those on other websites and check them. Do not think it is clever to use one source that seems to be reliable. You should always doublecheck. If the information differ, use a third or fourth source.
5) Use different sources from different points of views
If you only use sources from one country or group, the texts could be biased and one-sided. For instance, a lesbian would probably talk differently about LGBTQ+ than a homophobic person. Do not ignore a text only because you are of a different opinion.
6) Use search operators
Search operators are parameters that can be entered together with keywords and/or domains in the Google search window to get more precise search results. e.g with the plus sign several terms can be linked, with the minus sign search terms or websites are excluded from the search, with quotation marks the exact phrase is searched. If you don’t know all the different operators, you can go to https://www.google.de/advanced_search and type in the criteria necessary for getting the information you are looking for.
7) Use a browser without cookies
Cookies are made in order to find out what the user wants to see, surprisingly this system works quite well. A negative side-effect of this is that your results may be more personal than relevant. To gain a broader range of results, delete cookies or use the incognito mode. A browser without cookies would be startpage.com, which has a binding contract with Google to use its service without personalizing users’ search history.
8) Make sure that you use the correct search term
In order to get to know other points of views, it's important that you're actually using the term that is used by the people you're trying learn about.
9) Watch out: are there any clichés in your sources?
Make sure your sources are objective and factual. Examine whether jargon is being used correctly.
10) Make a time schedule
Set yourself a time, for example 90 Minutes per day, during which you will research your topic. This ensures that all your thoughts are on the research.
Johanna, Julius, Caroline, Josefine, Lemi