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Searching online has many educational benefits. For instance, one study found students who used advanced online search strategies also had higher grades at university.

But spending more time online does not guarantee better online skills. Instead, a student’s ability to successfully search online increases with guidance and explicit instruction.

Young people tend to assume they are already competent searchers. Their teachers and parents often assume this too. This assumption, and the misguided belief that searching always results in learning, means much classroom practice focuses on searching to learn, rarely on learning to search.

Many teachers don’t explictly teach students how to search online. Instead, students often teach themselves and are reluctant to ask for assistance. This does not result in students obtaining the skills they need.

 

For six years, I studied how young Australians use search engines. Both school students and home-schoolers (the nation’s fastest-growing educational cohort) showed some traits of online searching that aren’t beneficial. For instance, both groups spent greater time on irrelevant websites than relevant ones and regularly quit searches before finding their desired information.

Here are three things young people should keep in mind to get the full benefits of searching online.

1. Search for more than just isolated facts

Young people should explore, synthesise and question information on the internet, rather than just locating one thing and moving on.

Search engines offer endless educational opportunities but many students typically only search for isolated facts. This means they are no better off than they were 40 years ago with a print encyclopedia.

It’s important for searchers to use different keywords and queries, multiple sites and search tabs (such as news and images).

Part of my (as yet unpublished) PhD research involved observing young people and their parents using a search engine for 20 minutes. In one (typical) observation, a home-school family type “How many endangered Sumatran Tigers are there” into Google. They enter a single website where they read a single sentence.

The parent writes this “answer” down and they begin the next (unrelated) topic – growing seeds.

The student could have learned much more had they also searched for

  • where Sumatra is
  • why the tigers are endangered
  • how people can help them.

I searched Google using the keywords “Sumatran tigers” in quotation marks instead. The returned results offered me the ability to view National Geographic footage of the tigers and to chat live with an expert from the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) about them.

Clicking the “news” tab with this same query provided current media stories, including on two tigers coming to an Australian wildlife park and on the effect of palm oil on the species. Small changes to search techniques can make a big difference to the educational benefits made available online.

More can be learnt about Sumatran tigers with better search techniques. Source: Shutterstock

2. Slow down

All too often we presume search can be a fast process. The home-school families in my study spent 90 seconds or less, on average, viewing each website and searched a new topic every four minutes.

Searching so quickly can mean students don’t write effective search queries or get the information they need. They may also not have enough time to consider search results and evaluate websites for accuracy and relevance.

 

My research confirmed young searchers frequently click on only the most prominent links and first websites returned, possibly trying to save time. This is problematic given the commercial environment where such positions can be bought and given children tend to take the accuracy of everything online for granted.

Fast search is not always problematic. Quickly locating facts means students can spend time on more challenging educational follow-up tasks – like analysing or categorising the facts. But this is only true if they first persist until they find the right information.

3. You’re in charge of the search, not Google

Young searchers frequently rely on search tools like Google’s “Did you mean” function.

While students feel confident as searchers, my PhD research found they were more confident in Google itself. One Year Eight student explained: “I’m used to Google making the changes to look for me”.

Such attitudes can mean students dismiss relevant keywords by automatically agreeing with the (sometimes incorrect) auto-correct or going on irrelevant tangents unknowingly.

Teaching students to choose websites based on domain name extensions can also help ensure they are in charge, not the search engine. The easily purchasable “.com”, for example, denotes a commercial site while information on websites with a “.gov”(government) or “.edu” (education) domain name extension better assure quality information.

Search engines have great potential to provide new educational benefits, but we should be cautious of presuming this potential is actually a guarantee.

[Source: This article was published in studyinternational.com By The Conversation - Uploaded by the Association Member: Bridget Miller]

Categorized in Search Techniques

(UNDATED) – The Indiana Business Research Center recently released two tools based on new data releases from the U.S. Census Bureau. Available on StatsIndiana, the portal to statistics for Indiana, researchers can visit the City and Town Population Change Dashboard, where they can explore population change throughout the decade based on population estimates released in May.

Population change by year from 2010-19 is available for all place names in Indiana. Discover how a city or town’s population has gone up or down since 2010, which was the date of the last census.

Also new from IBRC and the Indiana Department of Workforce Development is the Workforce Economy Dashboard, available on Hoosiers by the Numbers.

See how Indiana measures up to other states by a number of indicators: unemployment rate, job market, and building permit data. In the details, see how these indicators performed over a 20-year span across the country.

[Source: This article was published in wbiw.com  - Uploaded by the Association Member: Jasper Solander]

 

Categorized in Business Research

Bing updated its backlink tool. Now it reports competitor backlinks. So much better than what Google provides.

Bing updated an improved backlink research tool and announced it on Twitter. The backlink tool shows links from unique top referring domains, links on a page per page level as well as the top anchor text.

It also shows the same data for competitors.

This makes Bing’s backlink tool useful for researching links as part of a link building process.

Bing Backlink Research Tool

The tool has recently been upgraded with the new feature.

Archive.org has a screenshot of the Bing Backlink Tool support page. The screenshot is from April 2020.

 

The archive of the backlink tool support page has a snapshot of the old version of the Bing backlink tool.

It can be seen in the screenshot that the old tool only had two backlink features:

  • All Links
  • Disavow

old-tool.png

The new Bing support page shows that the tool now has three features

  1. All Links
  2. Similar Sites
  3. Disavow Links

Bing Similar Sites Tool

Bings similar sites tool presents a great way to do backlink research. The tool helps you gain insights on competitor backlinks and can be useful for non-competitor backlink research.

While the tool calls it the “Similar Sites” tool, you can actually put any domain name in there, regardless if it’s similar to your site and research away. This means it can be used for backlink research for clients or to find backlinks of sites that aren’t direct competitors.

Detailed Backlink Information

The tool shows domain level backlink information, with the number of links from each domain listed in a right-hand column.

If you scroll down the list of backlinks there’s a link to detailed information for each domain.

 view-detailed-report.png

Clicking the link provides a page by page listing of the backlinks. You can hover over each link and alternatively copy the URL or visit the web page to inspect it.

Backlink Filters

You can compare your site with a competitor site and use a filter to show three different kinds of backlinks.

 

 

Show All

This shows you all the domains that link to your site, to your competitor, and those that don’t link to one or the other.

Show Only Common Domains

This shows the domains that link to both your site and your competitor.

Show Domains Not Linking to My Site

This shows links from domains that your competitor has that you don’t have.

Anchor Texts

The detailed report contains an option to view the anchor text used to link to competitors and your own site, including the option to use the above-described filters.

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That’s useful for seeing what anchor text a competitor has that your site does not.

Download Reports

All of the detailed reports include the option to download the reports in CSV format.

Bing Backlink Tool is Representative

The Bing backlink tool does not show complete backlink information. It shows what it calls a “representative” set of backlinks.

That means it’s a partial set of backlinks. That said, I think it shows a decent amount of links. But it seems to me that Bing might be randomizing the quality of the links resulting in some high-quality links not being shown.

 

I checked the tool and noticed it was reasonably comprehensive although some links I was aware of were missing.

Still, it’s a free tool, and Bing provides a decent amount of information.

Backlink information is an area that Google has traditionally been stingy about sharing.

I have been waiting years for Bing to get a clue and exploit Google’s shortcoming by providing competitor backlink information.

That day has finally arrived.

Give the Bing backlink tool a spin. You may find it useful.

[Source: This article was published in searchenginejournal.com By Roger Montti - Uploaded by the Association Member: Robert Hensonw]

Categorized in Search Engine

Bing on Monday will begin accessing important information related to COVID-19 from government, business, and travel websites through a special Schema markup language that will allow people to search and find information on the search engine.

SEOs and website developers can use the SpecialAnnouncement schema markups to serve up in search results disease statistics, testing facilities and testing guidelines, school closures, travel restrictions including public transit closures, and special announcements from businesses related to hours or changes in service.

“We’re still developing all of the various scenarios for how the markup may appear,” Christi Olson, Microsoft evangelist, wrote in an email to Search Marketing Daily. “As more websites start marking up their sites with the specialannoucement code, we’ll extend and develop additional scenarios for how the data will surface in the search results.”

 

SpecialAnnoucement for businesses might show updates for business hours. Business services can appear in the local listings and in map, for example. The markup for COVID-19 testing facilities may be used to help locate a nearby facility within the search results page or within maps. The markup for public transportation closures can appear for related searches in queries.

The markup for DiseaseSpreadStatistics and for testing and guidelines may be integrated into Bing’s COVID tracker.

The markup for government health agencies will assist Bing in accessing statistics via country, state or province, administrative area, and city, but they must use the schema.org markup for diseaseSpreadStatistics.

Only official government site reporting case statistics for a specific region can use this tag. Information in the markup must be up-to-date and consistent with statistics displayed from the site to the general public. Special announcements must include the date and time posted, as well as the time the statistics were first reported.

There is also a SpecialAnnouncement schema markup for local businesses, hospitals, schools, and government offices. Again, the data must be posted on an official website and refer only to changes related to COVID-19. The name of the special announcement must be easily identified within the body copy on the website page. It must include the posting date and the time the announcement expires.

A label detailing the special announcements related to COVID-19 with a link to the site for more details may be used on web results and in local listings shown on the search engine results page or map. This provides an easy link for customers and community members to find the latest information.

The SpecialAnnouncement schema markup gettingTestedInfo and CovidTestingFacility should be used to direct those searching for risk assessment and testing centers. It can lead those searching to specific locations to well-known healthcare facilities or government health agencies. The schema.org markup must be used to add URLs and facility locations already associated with a provider or an agency. Listing other providers’ facilities is not supported at this time.

Each has its own markup language for website pages. More information can be found here. There, marketers and webmasters will find guidance to specify locations using “about” as a variable to identify the location. For SpecialAnnouncement schema markup this variable has been updated and changed to “spatialCoverage.”

 

[Source: This article was published in mediapost.com By Laurie Sullivan - Uploaded by the Association Member: Jennifer Levin]

Categorized in Search Engine

[Source: This article was published in bbc.co.uk - Uploaded by the Association Member: Jennifer Levin]

Google turns 21 on Friday 27 September. The popular search engine is used by people right across the world and it's become a really important part of the internet for many.

To mark the special day we've got 21 facts about the tech giant that you might not know, unless you've already googled them yourself, of course!

  • 1Perhaps unsurprisingly, Google is the world's most visited website - it's even one of the most-searched terms on Bing.
  • 2Google was started by two college students, named Larry Page and Sergey Brin. They wanted to create a website which would rank pages based on how many other pages linked back to them, a bit like a web.
  • 3The word Google comes from the term 'googol', which is the number one followed by a hundred zeroes. The creators chose it to reflect the huge amount of data they were searching through.
  • 4The first-ever 'google doodle' (when Google's homepage changes to mark an important event) was created in celebration of the 1998 Burning Man Festival. The founders wanted people to know why they were out of the office.
  • 5Some of Google's most memorable doodles have celebrated the discovery of water on the Moon and John Lennon's 70th birthday, which was the first-ever video doodle.
  • 6The first Google server was stored in a custom case made of Lego.
  • 8At the Googleplex, there is a giant statue of a T-Rex dinosaur, which is often covered in flamingos. Rumour has it that this is a reminder to Google employees not to allow the company to go extinct.
  • 9Its headquarters are huge and there is lots of greenery. However, instead of lawnmowers, Google hires goats to keep the grass trimmed.
  • 10Google was the first big tech company to offer free meals to people who work there, and it allows employees to bring in their dogs to work.
  • 11Google Image Search launched in July 2001 and was inspired by the green Versace dress which Jennifer Lopez wore to the 2000 Grammy Awards. The dress became the most popular search query on Google - but there was no way to actually see it!
jenny.rtrs
REUTERS
Jennifer Lopez recently wore the same Versace dress during fashion week in Milan
  • 12Google first announced its e-mail service, known as G-mail, on April Fool's Day in 2004. As a result, many people thought it was a joke!
  • 13The verb 'google' was added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary in 2006, which defines it as "to use the Google search engine to obtain information on the World Wide Web".

 

  • 14YouTube became part of the Google family in 2006 after it was bought for more than $1.5 billion. At present, YouTube has nearly 2 billion monthly users, with more than 400 hours of video uploaded every minute.
gettyimages
GETTY IMAGES
The video-sharing platform has been part of the Google family for more than 10 years
  • 15The internet was 'broken' by a programmer at Google in 2009 after they accidentally added '/' to Google's blocked website registry. There is a '/' in nearly every website created, so nothing online could be accessed.
  • 1615% of the searches made every day on Google have never been searched before.
  • 17In April 2018, Google became the first company to achieve 100% renewable energy. This means that it is able to purchase a kilowatt of renewable energy for every kilowatt it uses.
  • 18Google actually has at least six birthdays, but it chooses to celebrate it on the 27th of September.
  • 19Google has a lot of little tricks. For example, if you search 'askew', all of the results turn crooked.
  • 20Just one Google search uses around the same amount of computing power it took to send the Apollo 11 astronauts to the Moon.
  • 21Nowadays, Google is far more than just a search engine. Future developments are set to include artificial intelligence, a new streaming-based gaming platform, and even driverless cars.

Categorized in Search Engine

Source: This article was Published bizcommunity.com - Contributed by Member: Jeremy Frink

The third Annual Western Cape Research Ethics Committees Colloquium was hosted by the University of the Western Cape (UWC) on Tuesday 11 September 2018

Here, the effectiveness of social media as a research tool and the implications of work conducted on these social media platforms were highlighted. 

According to Dr. Amiena Peck, from UWC’s Department of Linguistics, social media platforms have created many advantages of online research.

Guidelines, privacy, and cybersecurity

“Millions of South Africans use social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Linkedin, and more and more people join daily. This makes finding data more accessible, but it does offer challenges,” Peck said. 

“Unfortunately, there are no guidelines and no existing literature for guidelines when using social media for data collection, and there are several other challenges – such as privacy issues and cybersecurity.”

Professor Neil Myburgh, chair of UWC’s Biomedical Research Ethics Committee, said the issue of consent when using social media is often not spoken about – but this should change. “We have seen on Twitter where photos of children were shared in particular campaigns, bringing ethical issues to the surface,” he said. 

Myburgh noted that researchers need to consider all ethical issues when harvesting data from social media and strict ethical guidelines need to be established for social media use.

Proper ethical research methods

These kinds of reviews carried out by Research Ethics Committees allow a collective of multiskilled people to review a proposal and check its scientific veracity, as well as its ethical quality – a useful process. 

UWC rector and vice-chancellor, Professor Tyrone Pretorius said ethics is close to the hearts of most researchers and professionals at universities.

“Colloquia such as these are important to ensure that proper ethical research methods are taught to our young researchers. We have seen what has been happening in the accounting profession, for example – the curriculum needs to be amended so that we can teach the softer skills to our young accountants,” he said.

The colloquium enabled fruitful engagement between people closely involved in ensuring both scientific and ethical quality in research, whilst contributing to better practices all around. 

Attendees included participants from research structures at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Stellenbosch University, University of Cape Town, the South African Medical Research Council and the Western Cape Department of Health.
 
Categorized in Research Methods

Online research involves collecting information from the internet. It saves cost, is impactful and it offers ease of access. Online research is valuable for gathering information. Tools such as questionnaires, online surveys, polls and focus groups aid market research. You can conduct market research with little or no investment for e-commerce development.

Search Engine Optimization makes sure that your research is discoverable. If your research is highly ranked more people will find, read and cite your research.

Steps to improve the visibility of your research include:

  1. The title gives the reader a clear idea of what the research is about. The title is the first thing a reader sees. Make your research title relevant and consistent. Use a search engine friendly title. Make sure your title provides a solution.
  2. Keywords are key concepts in your research output. They index your article and make sure your research is found quickly. Use keywords that are relevant and common to your research field. Places to use relevant keywords include title, heading, description tags, abstract, graphics, main body text and file name of the document.
  3. Abstract convince readers to read an article. It aids return in a search.
  4. When others cite your research your visibility and reputation will increase. Citing your earlier works will also improve how search engines rank your research.
  5. External links from your research to blogs, personal webpage, and social networking sites will make your research more visible.
  6. The type of graphics you use affects your ranking. Use vectors such as .svg, .eps, .as and .ps. Vectors improve your research optimization.
  7. Make sure you are consistent with your name across all publications. Be distinguishable from others.
  8. Use social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to publicize your research. Inform everyone. Share your links everywhere.
  9. Make sure your research is on a platform indexed properly by search engines.

Online research is developing and can take place in email, chat rooms, instant messaging and web pages.  Online research is done for customer satisfaction, product testing, audience targeting and database mining.

Ethical dilemmas in online research include:

  1. How to get informed consent from the participants being researched?
  2. What constitutes privacy in online research?
  3. How can researchers prove the real identity of participants?
  4. When is covert observation justifiable?

Knowing how to choose resources when doing online research can help you avoid wasted time.

WAYS TO MAKE ONLINE RESEARCH EASY AND EFFECTIVE

  1. Ask: Know the resources recommended for your research from knowledgeable people. You can get information on valuable online journals or websites from an expert or knowledgeable people.
  2. Fact from fiction: Know the sites that are the best for your research topic. Make sure the websites you have chosen are valuable and up to date. Sites with .edu and .gov are usually safe. If you use a .org website make sure it is proper, reliable and credible. If you use a .com site; check if the site advertises, bias is a possibility.

Social media sites, blogs, and personal websites will give you personal opinions and not facts.

  1. Search Smartly: Use established search engines. Use specific terms. Try alternative searches. Use search operators or advanced search. Know the best sites.
  2. Focus: Do not be distracted when conducting an online research. Stay focused and away from social media sites.
  3. Cite Properly: Cite the source properly. Do not just copy and paste for plagiarism can affect your work.

When conducting research use legitimate and trustworthy resources. sites to help you find articles and journals that are reliable include:

  1. BioMedCentral
  2. Artcyclopedia
  3. FindArticles.com
  4. Digital History
  5. Infomine
  6. Internet Public Library
  7. Internet History Sourcebooks
  8. Librarians Internet Index
  9. Intute
  10. Library of Congress
  11. Project Gutenberg
  12. Perseus Digital Library
  13. Research Guide for Students.

No matter what you are researching the internet is a valuable tool. Use sites wisely and you will get all the information you need.

ONLINE RESEARCH METHODS

  1. Online focus group: This is for business to business service research, consumer research and political research. Pre-selected participants who represent specific interest are invited as part of the focus group.
  2. Online interview: This is done using computer-mediated communication (CMC) such as SMS or Email. Online interview is synchronous or asynchronous. In synchronous interviews, responses are received in real-time for example online chat interviews. In asynchronous interviews, responses are not in real-time such as email interviews. Online interviews use feedbacks about topics to get insight into the participants, attitudes, experiences or ideas.
  3. Online qualitative research: This includes blogs, communities and mobile diaries. It saves cost, time and is convenient. Respondents for online qualitative research can be gotten from surveys, databases or panels.
  4. Social network analysis: This has gained acceptance. With social network analysis researchers can measure the relationship between people, groups, organization, URLs and so on.

Other methods of online research include cyber-ethnography, online content analysis, and Web-based experiments.

TYPES OF ONLINE RESEARCH

  1. Customer satisfaction research: This occurs through phone calls or emails. Customers are asked to give feedback on their experience with a product, service or an organization.
  2. New product research: This is carried out by testing a new product with a group of selected individuals and immediately collecting feedback.
  3. Brand loyalty: This research seeks to find out what attracts customers to a brand. The research is to maintain or improve a brand.
  4. Employee satisfaction research: With this research, you can know what employees think about working for your organization. The moral of your organization can contribute to its productivity.

When conducting an online research give open-ended questions and show urgency but be tolerant.

Written by Junaid Ali Qureshi he is a digital marketing specialist who has helped several businesses gain traffic, outperform the competition and generate profitable leads. His current ventures include Progostech, Magentodevelopers.online.eLabelz, Smart Leads.ae, Progos Tech and eCig.

Categorized in Online Research

Online Methods to Investigate the Who, Where, and When of a Person. Another great list by Internet search expert Henk Van Ess.

Searching the Deep Web, by Giannina Segnini. Beginning with advanced tips on sophisticated Google searches, this presentation at GIJC17 by the director of Columbia University Journalism School’s Data Journalism Program moves into using Google as a bridge to the Deep Web using a drug trafficking example. Discusses tracking the container, the ship, and customs. Plus, Facebook research and more.

Tools, Useful Links & Resources, by Raymond Joseph, a journalist and trainer with South Africa’s Southern Tip Media. Six packed pages of information on Twitter, social media, verification, domain and IP information, worldwide phonebooks, and more. In a related GICJ17 presentation, Joseph described “How to be Digital Detective.” 

IntelTechniques is prepared by Michael Bazzell, a former US government computer crime investigator and now an author and trainer. See the conveniently organized resources in left column under “Tools.” (A Jan. 2, 2018, blog post discusses newly added material.)

Investigate with Document Cloud, by Doug Haddix, Executive Director, Investigative Reporters and Editors. A guide to using 1.6 million public documents shared by journalists, analyzing and highlighting your own documents, collaborating with others, managing document workflows and sharing your work online.

Malachy Browne’s Toolkit. More than 80 links to open source investigative tools by one of the best open-source sleuths in the business. When this New York Times senior story producer flashed this slide at the end of his packed GIJC17 session, nearly everyone requested access.

Social Media Sleuthing, by Michael Salzwedel. “Not Hacking, Not Illegal,” begins this presentation from GIJC17 by a founding partner and trainer at Social Weaver.

Finding Former Employees, by James Mintz. “10 Tips on Investigative Reporting’s Most Powerful Move: Contacting Formers,” according to veteran private investigator Mintz, founder and president of The Mintz Group.

Investigative Research Links from Margot Williams. The former research editor at The Intercept offers an array of suggestions, from “Effective Google Searching” to a list of “Research Guru” sites.

Bellingcat’s Digital Forensics Tools, a wide variety of resources here: for maps, geo-based searches, images, social media, transport, data visualization, experts and more.

List of Tools for Social Media Research, a tipsheet from piqd.de’s Frederik Fischer at GIJC15.

SPJ Journalist’s Toolbox from the Society of Professional Journalists in the US, curated by Mike Reilley. Includes an extensive list of, well, tools.

How to find an academic research paper, by David Trilling, a staff writer for Journalist’s Resource, based at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy.

 

Using deep web search engines for academic and scholarly research, an article by Chris Stobing in VPN & Privacy, a publication of Comparitech.com, a UK company that aims to help consumers make more savvy decisions when they subscribe to tech services such as VPNs.

Step by step guide to safely accessing the darknet and deep web, an article by Paul Bischoff in VPN & Privacy, a publication of Comparitech.com, a UK company that aims to help consumers make more savvy decisions when they subscribe to tech services such as VPNs.

Research Beyond Google: 56 Authoritative, Invisible, and Comprehensive Resources, a resource from Open Education Database, a US firm that provides a comprehensive online education directory for both free and for-credit learning options.

The Engine Room,  a US-based international NGO, created an Introduction to Web Resources, that includes a section on making copies of information to protect it from being lost or changed.

Awesome Public Datasets, a very large community-built compilation organized by topic.

Online Research Tools and Investigative Techniques by the BBC’s ace online sleuth Paul Myers has long been a starting point for online research by GIJN readers. His website, Research Clinic, is rich in research links and “study materials.”

Source: This article was published gijn.org

Categorized in Online Research

Search engines are an intrinsic part of the array of commonly used “open source” research tools. Together with social media, domain name look-ups and more traditional solutions such as newspapers and telephone directories, effective web searching will help you find vital information to support your investigation.

Many people find that search engines often bring up disappointing results from dubious sources. A few tricks, however, can ensure that you corner the pages you are looking for, from sites you can trust. The same goes for searching social networks and other sources to locate people: A bit of strategy and an understanding of how to extract what you need will improve results.

This chapter focuses on three areas of online investigation:

  1. Effective web searching.
  2. Finding people online.
  3. Identifying domain ownership.

1. Effective web searching

Search engines like Google don’t actually know what web pages are about. They do, however, know the words that are on the pages. So to get a search engine to behave itself, you need to work out which words are on your target pages.

First off, choose your search terms wisely. Each word you add to the search focuses the results by eliminating results that don’t include your chosen keywords.

Some words are on every page you are after. Other words might or might not be on the target page. Try to avoid those subjective keywords, as they can eliminate useful pages from the results.

Use advanced search syntax.

Most search engines have useful so-called hidden features that are essential to helping focus your search and improve results.

Optional keywords

If you don’t have definite keywords, you can still build in other possible keywords without damaging the results. For example, pages discussing heroin use in Texas might not include the word “Texas”; they may just mention the names of different cities. You can build these into your search as optional keywords by separating them with the word OR (in capital letters).

You can use the same technique to search for different spellings of the name of an individual, company or organization.

Search by domain

You can focus your search on a particular site by using the search syntax “site:” followed by the domain name.

For example, to restrict your search to results from Twitter:

To add Facebook to the search, simply use “OR” again:

You can use this technique to focus on a particular company’s website, for example. Google will then return results only from that site.

You can also use it to focus your search on municipal and academic sources, too. This is particularly effective when researching countries that use unique domain types for government and university sites.

Note: When searching academic websites, be sure to check whether the page you find is written or maintained by the university, one of its professors or one of the students. As always, the specific source matters.

Searching for file types

Some information comes in certain types of file formats. For instance, statistics, figures and data often appear in Excel spreadsheets. Professionally produced reports can often be found in PDF documents. You can specify a format in your search by using “filetype:” followed by the desired data file extension (xls for spreadsheet, docx for Word documents, etc.).

2. Finding people

Groups can be easy to find online, but it’s often trickier to find an individual person. Start by building a dossier on the person you’re trying to locate or learn more about. This can include the following:

  • The person’s name, bearing in mind:

    • Different variations (does James call himself “James,” “Jim,” “Jimmy” or “Jamie”?).
    • The spelling of foreign names in Roman letters (is Yusef spelled “Yousef” or “Yusuf”?).
    • Did the names change when a person married?
    • Do you know a middle name or initial?
  • The town the person lives in and or was born in.

  • The person’s job and company.

  • Their friends and family members’ names, as these may appear in friends and follower lists.

  • The person’s phone number, which is now searchable in Facebook and may appear on web pages found in Google searches.

  • Any of the person’s usernames, as these are often constant across various social networks.

  • The person’s email address, as these may be entered into Facebook to reveal linked accounts. If you don’t know an email address, but have an idea of the domain the person uses, sites such as email-format can help you guess it.

  • A photograph, as this can help you find the right person, if the name is common.

Advanced social media searches: Facebook

Facebook’s newly launched search tool is amazing. Unlike previous Facebook searches, it will let you find people by different criteria including, for the first time, the pages someone has Liked. It also enables you to perform keyword searches on Facebook pages.

This keyword search, the most recent feature, sadly does not incorporate any advanced search filters (yet). It also seems to restrict its search to posts from your social circle, their favorite pages and from some high-profile accounts.

Aside from keywords in posts, the search can be directed at people, pages, photos, events, places, groups and apps. The search results for each are available in clickable tabs.

For example, a simple search for Chelsea will find bring up related pages and posts in the Posts tab:

The People tab brings up people named Chelsea. As with the other tabs, the order of results is weighted in favor of connections to your friends and favorite pages.

The Photos tab will bring up photos posted publicly, or posted by friends that are related to the word Chelsea (such as Chelsea Clinton, Chelsea Football Club or your friends on a night out in the Chelsea district of London).

The real investigative value of Facebook’s search becomes apparent when you start focusing a search on what you really want.

For example, if you are investigating links between extremist groups and football, you might want to search for people who like The English Defence League and Chelsea Football Club. To reveal the results, remember to click on the “People” tab.

This search tool is new and Facebook are still ironing out the creases, so you may need a few attempts at wording your search. That said, it is worth your patience.

Facebook also allows you to add all sorts of modifiers and filters to your search. For example, you can specify marital status, sexuality, religion, political views, pages people like, groups they have joined and areas they live or grew up in. You can specify where they studied, what job they do and which company they work for. You can even find the comments that someone has added to uploaded photos. You can find someone by name or find photos someone has been tagged in. You can list people who have participated in events and visited named locations. Moreover, you can combine all these factors into elaborate, imaginative, sophisticated searches and find results you never knew possible. That said, you may find still better results searching the site via search engines like Google (add “site:facebook.com” to the search box).

 

Advanced social media searches: Twitter

Many of the other social networks allow advanced searches that often go far beyond the simple “keyword on page” search offered by sites such as Google. Twitter’s advanced search, for example, allows you to trace conversations between users and add a date range to your search.

Twitter allows third-party sites to use its data and create their own exciting searches.
Followerwonk, for example, lets you search Twitter bios and compare different users. Topsy has a great archive of tweets, along with other unique functionality.

Advanced social media searches: LinkedIn

LinkedIn will let you search various fields including location, university attended, current company, past company or seniority.

You have to log in to LinkedIn in order to use the advanced search, so remember to check your privacy settings. You wouldn’t want to leave traceable footprints on the profile of someone you are investigating!

You can get into LinkedIn’s advanced search by clicking on the link next to the search box. Be sure, also, to select “3rd + Everyone Else” under relationship. Otherwise , your search will include your friends and colleagues and their friends.

LinkedIn was primarily designed for business networking. Its advanced search seems to have been designed primarily for recruiters, but it is still very useful for investigators and journalists. Personal data exists in clearly defined subject fields, so it is easy to specify each element of your search.

You can enter normal keywords, first and last names, locations, current and previous employers, universities and other factors. Subscribers to their premium service can specify company size and job role.

LinkedIn will let you search various fields including location, university attended, current company, past company and seniority.

Other options

Sites like Geofeedia and Echosec allow you to find tweets, Facebook posts, YouTube videos, Flickr and Instagram photos that were sent from defined locations. Draw a box over a region or a building and reveal the social media activity. Geosocialfootprint.com will plot a Twitter user’s activity onto a map (all assuming the users have enabled location for their accounts).

Additionally, specialist “people research” tools like Pipl and Spokeo can do a lot of the hard legwork for your investigation by searching for the subject on multiple databases, social networks and even dating websites. Just enter a name, email address or username and let the search do the rest. Another option is to use the multisearch tool from Storyful. It’s a browser plugin for Chrome that enables you to enter a single search term, such as a username, and get results from Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Tumblr and Spokeo. Each site opens in a new browser tab with the relevant results.

Searching by profile pic

People often use the same photo as a profile picture for different social networks. This being the case, a reverse image search on sites like TinEye and Google Images, will help you identify linked accounts.

3. Identifying domain ownership

Many journalists have been fooled by malicious websites. Since it’s easy for anyone to buy an unclaimed .com, .net or .org site, we should not go on face value. A site that looks well produced and has authentic-sounding domain name may still be a political hoax, false company or satirical prank.

Some degree of quality control can be achieved by examining the domain name itself. Google it and see what other people are saying about the site. A “whois” search is also essential. DomainTools.com is one of many sites that offers the ability to perform a whois search. It will bring up the registration details given by the site owner the domain name was purchased.

For example, the World Trade Organization was preceded by the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trades (GATT). There are, apparently, two sites representing the WTO. There’s wto.org (genuine) and gatt.org (a hoax). A mere look at the site hosted at gatt.org should tell most researchers that something is wrong, but journalists have been fooled before.

A whois search dispels any doubt by revealing the domain name registration information. Wto.org is registered to the International Computing Centre of the United Nations. Gatt.org, however, is registered to “Andy Bichlbaum” from the notorious pranksters the Yes Men.

Whois is not a panacea for verification. People can often get away with lying on a domain registration form. Some people will use an anonymizing service like Domains by Proxy, but combining a whois search with other domain name and IP address tools forms a valuable weapon in the battle to provide useful material from authentic sources.

 Source: This article was published verificationhandbook.com By Paul Myers

Categorized in Investigative Research

Whatever research you intend doing online you do have to start somewhere. The collection and collation of data require you to be organised. You must develop your own research techniques when online and stick to them.

Are you looking for info on…

  • data collection tools in research methodology
  • what are the disadvantages of online research
  • good online research tools
  • best internet research tips

Internet Research Techniques

Before starting any research on the internet you need to know some of the Pro’s and Con’s …

What are the advantages of doing internet research?

  • Ability to obtain a large sample, which increases statistical power
  • Ability to obtain a more diverse sample than in traditional university-based research
  • Prevents experimenter demand effects (with no interaction with the experimenter, no “experimenter expectancy” effect)

What are the disadvantages of doing internet research?

  • Some subjects may try to participant in the same study more than once
    1. To overcome this problem, you can ask for the email addresses of each participant and then look for duplicates.
    2. Since nowadays it's easy for people to create multiple email addresses, you can also ask for name and/or address of each subject. Sometimes researchers will have a “lottery” as incentive to participate (e.g., $100 lottery prize for each 400 participants), so asking for name/address is necessary to award the lottery check.
    3. You can also collect the IP address of each participant and look for duplicates. One issue here is that sometimes DSL providers give the same IP address to multiple people.
  • Some subjects may drop out of the study before finishing
    1. In traditional laboratory-based research its unusual for a subject to walk out of a study, but online a subject can get distracted or simply lose interest and end the study. Sometimes researchers will have a “lottery” as incentive to have the subject participate in the study, but with any type of monetary incentive IRB’s typically require a statement in the consent form saying something to the effect of “you may discontinue participation at any time without any consequences or losing your entry in the lottery.”
    2. Since a certain number of online subjects won't finish the study, you can over-collect the number of subjects you think you need to offset the number of subjects who don't finish the study, usually around 10-20%.
  • Some subjects may stop the study and then continue minutes/hours later
    1. The problem here is that some studies involve manipulations which may lose power if there is a time lag between the manipulation and measures in the study. One advantage of online studies is that you can record how long the subject is taking part in the study, so you can identify the average length of time of your study, and also identify those subjects who take an extrordinary long amount of time to finish the study.

 

 

Categorized in Online Research
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