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.

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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

Experts from all over the world have been pointing out the dark side of the deep web for quite some time now. However, new research goes to show there are plenty of legal reasons to use the darknet, as the number of legitimate sites far outpaces the number of underground marketplaces. This is quite a surprising outcome, although it will not put government’s minds at ease by any means.

The Darknet Is About More Than Online Crime

The research unveiled by Terbium Labs is quite interesting to take note of. Most people only know the deep web for its criminal activity, and law enforcement is cracking down on these illegal trades. But every story has two sides to it, and it turns out the number of legitimate deep web sites is far bigger than most people give it credit for.

The deep web offers users an additional layer of anonymity and privacy, which is often associated with online crime.However, there are other reasons to demand more privacy when browsing the Internet. Although the research only pulled data from 400 different sites, it goes to show there are multiple legitimate use cases on the deep web.

As one would come to expect, the results showcase there are many different categories of content to be found on the darknet. Drugs, Fraud, Counterfeits, and Hacking are all prominent site directories, but they only represent a small portion of all onion-based platforms. In fact, 6.8% of all search results returned adult content, which is also deemed as “legal.”

Other legal content one can find on the deep web ranges from hosting Facebook – which is often accessed through the Tor browser – to graphic design firms, political parties, and regular forums to discuss IT-related content. All of this content could easily exist without Tor, were it not for the software to offer more privacy and anonymity.

The research also highlights some worrisome development in the “illicit content” category, though. Even though most deep web discussions revolve around drugs and weapons, they only represent a fraction of what is going on among criminals. Exploitation is a serious offense, and it is becoming more prominent on the darknet than ever before. Exploitation ranges from pornographic, violent content, or any other type of illegal activity involving children.

Weapons of mass destruction are notoriously absent from this darknet findings report. Although exploring 400 web sites may not be the best way to target discussions about WMDs, it goes to show biological agents have not found their way to “traditional’” deep web platforms just yet. But that doesn’t mean it is not there for those who know how the look for it.

The main thing to take away from this research is how one cannot classify the deep web as just a place for criminal activity. However, since no one can grasp the full complexity of the darknet, to begin with, further research is warranted. For now, there is no reason to dismiss the positive side of the deep web, as there are more legitimate use cases than assumed at first.

Source:  livebitcoinnews.com

Categorized in Research Methods

The aspect of realism involved in writing is often overlooked. The need for research in every genre, whether fiction or non-fiction, was what a small group of writers gathered to learn about in a workshop led by creative writing teacher Pamela Schoenewaldt and Jamie Osborn, librarian for the Knoxville Public Library.

The workshop, titled "Smart Research Tactics for Writers," was sponsored by the Knoxville Writers' Guild and held at Central United Methodist Church on Saturday, June 4. The workshop was designed to give the participants a solid foundation to start finding valuable sources for the amount of research that goes into writing.

Schoenewaldt discussed the research that went into her latest book, "Under the Same Blue Sky," which deals with situation of German Americans in the WWI era, the kinds of information needed and where she went to get the information.

She stressed the importance of efficiency and fact checking.

“You must be accurate because writing fiction involves a willing suspension of disbelief, and as soon as you have something in there that’s inaccurate people will stop believing you," Schoenewaldt said. "You don’t want that."

Schoenewaldt also shared her hopes of the participants turning to the library for help.

“Many people believe that all you need is to bum around on google. That’s not even the fastest way to go and it’s not always the most reliable,” she said. “Many writers in this area don’t realize the wealth of info that’s available at their fingertips."

Osborn discussed the resources of the public library, such as the McClung Collection as well as the different examples of sources and ways to get them.

She also explained the differences between internet and onsite research.

“With any kind of writing, whether it’s historical or fiction, you need to make sure your information is correct,” Osborn said. “It really makes a difference, so I try to direct people to the right places to get the correct information.” added Osborn.

Towards the end, participants worked in small groups and talked about their story ideas. Osborn also provided much needed support such as telling the participants individually what they can research and where to find the information.

One of the participants, Kate Caldwell, enjoyed this aspect of the workshop and gained much insight to help with her writing.

“I really was stuck at the research point. The hardest part is narrowing the focus and understanding where to go for knowledge,” Caldwell said. “I don’t feel like I can progress with this idea until I have facts, so this is exactly what I really needed to hear in terms of process."

The Knoxville Writers' Guild’s next workshop, lead by member Bonny Millard, will be held Saturday, July 16 from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. at Central United Methodist Church.

Source:  http://www.tnjn.com/2016/06/05/writing-workshop-helps-aspiring-writers-tackle-research-methods/

Categorized in Research Methods

The author of Bad Science will talk about the benefits of randomised trials in Birmingham todayEvidence-based research should be a key part of initial teacher training and ongoing CPD, a bestselling author and academic has suggested.

Dr Ben Goldacre, who is also a qualified doctor and campaigner, says it is “problematic” that initial teacher training does not dedicate at least a day to research-informed methods.At the Inspiring Leaders conference in Birmingham today, where TES is a media partner, the author of the book Bad Science will set out the value of randomised trials in measuring whether something works.

“I want to show that this method is really powerful in lots of different places,” the senior clinical research fellow at the University of Oxford told TES ahead of his session today.In 2013, Dr Goldacre published a report, commissioned by the Department for Education, which recommended the use of more randomised controlled trials in education.

'Huge amount can be achieved'

He said: “There are lots of good examples now. The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) have done a really good job, but there is still a huge amount to be achieved.“It requires capital funding, changes to the way initial teacher training is run, and an institution to be set up to foster and support evidence-based research.”

School leaders from across the country are gathering in Birmingham for a three-day conference, which started yesterday, organised by the Association of School and College Leaders, the NAHT union and the Education Development Trust.

Dr Goldacre added:

"It is certainly problematic that initial teacher training doesn't always include a day or two on research methods, on the various tools we can use to find out whether interventions work."It is something they should have, and there should also be good CPD about research methods.”

Want to keep up with the latest education news and opinion? Follow TES on Twitter and like TES on Facebook

Source:  https://www.tes.com/news/school-news/breaking-news/ben-goldacre-research-methods-should-play-a-larger-role-teacher

Categorized in Research Methods

Going online to do research when you're writing papers and doing projects is a no-brainer. But all of the choices at your fingertips can seem overwhelming sometimes. Knowing how to evaluate and choose online resources can help you avoid headaches and wasted time.

Here are 5 ways to make researching online as easy and effective as possible:

Start at school.

Ask your teachers or librarian which resources they'd recommend for your project. That way you can be sure the resources are school approved and the information is accurate. In some cases, your school or teacher may have paid subscriptions to online journals or websites. These can give you information you wouldn't get through a regular Internet search.

Unless your teacher says otherwise, using the Internet should be an additional tool, not your only tool for researching a topic. Your school library is full of books, magazines, and other resources to help you.

Many schools block access to online images or entire websites that may be valuable to your research. So plan on spending some or most of your online research time at home, your local municipal library, or anywhere else you have online access.

Sort fact from fiction.

Before you begin your research, make a list of the kinds of sites that are best for your topic. Government sites ending in .gov and educational sites ending in .edu are usually safe bets. Established news-related sites are OK, too, but be sure that you're using the original source. If a newspaper article mentions another source, like an organization or website, go directly to that source to find the information.

Sites ending in .org are usually nonprofit organizations. They can be good resources, but it's always best to check with your teacher to make sure he or she considers the site appropriate. Wikipedia is popular and ranks high in search results, but it can be edited by anyone, whether a person has accurate knowledge of the topic or not. At most schools, using Wikipedia as a source is not a good way to build credibility in your repor  

On commercial websites ending in .com, check to see if the site has advertising. If it does, it may be biased. Blogs, personal websites, and social media sites (like YouTube, Digg, Tumblr, Pinterest, or Facebook) are personal sources and can be biased as well.

Search smart.

Start with an established search engine, like Google or Bing. Although search engines often do a good job of guessing what you need, you can use specific search methods to narrow down your results. If you haven't learned about things like Boolean searches in school, ask your teacher or librarian for guidance.

Many search engines are paid to place certain results as advertisements. Sometimes these ads show up at the top of the search result page. The ads will look different from the regular results (appearing on a shaded background, for example) and should be clearly marked as ads. Even when the top results aren't ads, they still might not be the best possible choices. That's why it helps to know how to decode the best sites for your needs (point #2 above).

Stay focused.

When you're ready to check out websites or go to search engines such as Google, log off your chat, Facebook, and email (and turn off your phone!). That way, you're not tempted to get lost in the surf. Just a few clicks can take you far from your topic.

If you need to take a break from your research, make a note of where you are before you walk away from your computer. Taking a 10-minute break from the computer every hour works well for most people. Use the time to move around and stretch a bit.

Cite right.

The format for citing online resources is different from print resources, so be sure to check the particular style your teacher wants you to use for Internet citations.

When you research online, it can be easy to copy and paste text, then forget to cite the source or go back and put the thought in your own words later. Just like teachers can recognize your voice in class, most can recognize your voice in your writing. Even accidental plagiarism can have serious consequences for your grades — so don't take a chance. Identify the text you've quoted and add the citation before moving on to the rest of your paper. 

Source:  http://kidshealth.org/en/teens/online-research.html

Categorized in Online Research

Simple Keys To Search the Internet More Effectively:

1. Read the Help or Tips Menu

Know your Search Tool. What is the difference between a search directory and a search engine? The Help or Tips Menu will provide valuable information about how to perform an effective search. If you have not looked at Help, Tips, or other guides, you are probably not making the best use of the search tool.

2. Prepare to Search

Think about what you are looking for. Create a list of search terms that you can work with. Consider what is the best search tool for the job. Again, know your search tool--which one will find what you are looking. Do you want to use a search engine like Alta Vista or would you rather use a directory like Yahoo?
Table Matching What Your Search May Need with Search Tool Features
3. Start Simple and Take Advantage of the Search Tool

When you begin a search, use the simple mode to enter search terms.
Some of the major tools like Alta Vista, AskJeeves, and others have designed the simple mode for ease of use. Natural language searching, links to RealName and DirectHit for finding major sites, and other features like Lycos' First and Fast retrieve good results with minimal expertise. Although the advanced modes offers more control, the simple mode often offers an better results when beginning a search.
Refrain from entering a search with + and -, Boolean and, or, and not, parenthetical expressions such as Cleveland and (Indians or Tribe), and other advanced features before you have simply entered the search term or terms. If you are searching a phrase, however, the " " around the search will generally lead to better results (see #10).

4. Use Both the Advanced and the Simple Modes of Search Tools

A common misconception is that Advanced Search is for "advanced searchers." However, the information that you are looking for often dictates how you will search. Learning to work with the Advanced Search modes does not take much more time or energy to learn to use, and it allows you to work with more search options and retrieve sites that are more relevant.

5. Use Unique Terms When Possible to Retrieve More Specific Results

Search tools use language to retrieve results. The words you choose will determine the information you find. Since some terms generally have one or more meanings, less than perfect results are common when searching the internet. Try to use words that are specific and describe what you are looking for in unique ways. The "Clustering" or "Folders" feature in search tools such as Teoma, WiseNut, and All the Web and the "Refine" feature in Alta Vista can provide other terms to use when searching.
6. Use the Directories in Search Tools or Subject Directories

Directories, such as what is used by Yahoo, are available on most search tools and help organize sites into categories. Use these categories to focus your search. These search tool directories differ from the "guru" subject directories sites such as Digital Librarian and INFOMINE which list sites that are hand-picked by an individual or groups of individuals who maintain the site.

7. Use More than One Search Tools

Not all search tools are alike. A search will produce radically different results depending upon the tool used. Each tool has strengths and weaknesses. Take advantage of the strengths and use tools to your advantage. If you want to see this in action, try doing the same search on different tools. Compare the first ten sites retrieved by each tool. Viva la differance!

8. Use the MetaSearch Tools and Natural Language Tools to Begin and/or Refine a Search

MetaSearch tools, such as Ixquick Metasearch, Vivísimo, ProFusion, SurfWax, and others, search multiple tools simultaneously and are good tools to begin your research. Although the results are rarely as good as using an individual search tool, metasearchers are an excellent way to explore a topic and gather keywords and other information. After using a MetaSearch tool, refine the search by using the available features specific to each individual search tools.
Natural language searching, available on many tools such as AskJeeves, Alta Vista, and others allows a search to be formulated into a question. Translating a search into a question often helps to you refine the type of information you want to retrieve.

9. Use Capitalization When Appropriate or to Refine a Search

Not every search tool is case sensitive. However, you will not be penalized by using capitalization for a search such as "Martin Luther King" or "Southern Oregon University Library." Capitalization will often retrieve sites that have the search term in the title--this tactic is especially useful when searching for a terms that are not capitalized unless they are in a title (eg. Computers rather than computers).

10. Use Quotations or Other Symbols to Specify a Phrase

Search tools do not know whether a search is for "lesson" or "plans." The default is typically lesson or plans in simple searching. Use quotations to surround a phrase such as "lesson plans." However, again a word of caution, when using simple modes in some databases like Alta Vista, searching with quotation will often produce less effective results.

11. Keep Wading to a Minimum: Size of the Search Tool Does Not Matter

If you have not found what you are looking for in the first 20 to 50 sites, give it up and go no further. Either reformulate your search or try another search tool. Creativity is often the key to reformulating or rephrasing a search.

The discussion of how many pages are indexed in any particular search tools is generally discussed and in dispute. For the most part, this discussion is a moot point other than when trying to choose a tool for two reasons:

No one search engine is best. A sophisticated search requires many search tools.
The number of relevant sites is more important than the number of sites searched.

12. Use Find or Ctrl-F to Help Navigate Search Results

Often it is difficult to understand why a site is retrieved in a search. The Find or Ctrl-F feature will quickly allow you to search the text of a site and locate specific keywords. 

Source:  http://hanlib.sou.edu/searchtools/searchtips.html 

Categorized in Research Methods

Botto Bistro is far from the worst restaurant in America. But it doesn’t mind if you think so.

 

A small Italian place in a strip mall across the bay from San Francisco, Botto is just a few miles from my house. The other night, I packed up the family and headed off for dinner.

 

I remembered one of Botto’s reviews on Yelp said, “The pizza tastes like the rag at Denny’s that they use to wipe down the counters and tabletops,” so we decided to get that, plus a beet salad.

 

The attitude is a little brusque. “We have no ice, no butter, no ranch, no lemon,” a sign behind the counter warns. “We charge for bread. We charge for everything.”

 

Give Botto five stars for undermining Yelp. The bistro did not want to be reviewed and let itself be subject to the whims of people with no names but plenty of opinions. But Yelp doesn’t allow businesses to opt out.

 

Some shady outfits try to load the dice by buying favorable reviews, but Botto went in the other direction. It asks people to trash it. When we left, the co-owner and chef, Davide Cerretini, gave me a sticker that said, “I gave Botto one star on Yelp.” If I did that, my next pizza would be half price.

 

The restaurant has been fighting Yelp in earnest for nearly two years now. More than half of its 250 reviews are one-star. Mr. Cerretini seems to enjoy the game. “It may sound to you like a suicide mission, but our business is up,” he said.

 

If Botto’s critical notices on Yelp are often written to be outrageous and unbelievable (“the pizza arrived at the table with a dead rat under the cheese”), they also reflect the confused state of reviewing on the internet. Even as researchers are finding that reviews are less reliable, more people are relying on them. On Yelp alone, the number of reviews now exceeds 100 million.

 

Continue reading the main story

 

Reviews tell us what to read next, where to eat dinner and what to order there, where to go on vacation and what doctor to call. Soon, as Google demonstrated with the introduction of its voice-activated Google Home device in May, reviews will be read aloud to you as you lie on the couch, wondering what movie to see next.

 

But if reviews are ubiquitous, there are also persistent controversies over how many of the reviews on the internet were bought by the subject rather than written as finely reasoned opinions from a neutral party, and whether that distorts all results.

 

In May, Yelp issued 59 new Consumer Alerts, which are notices it puts on a business’s page that it has been caught trying to pay for better reviews. Among those cited were a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon and an emergency room in Humble, Tex. Lifehacker.com recently took on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic, arguing their way of compiling reviews was “fundamentally flawed.” FiveThirtyEight.com reported that “men are sabotaging the online reviews of TV shows aimed at women.” (Why? Because they can.)

 

Bart de Langhe, an assistant professor of marketing at Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado, used to see numerical reviews online and accept them implicitly. Then, when his son was born three years ago, he needed to buy a car seat. Mr. de Langhe noticed that the seat rated lowest by Consumer Reports got a high rating on Amazon, and the one rated highest by Consumer Reports received a low rating on Amazon.

 

The more popular seat on Amazon was also more expensive. Were reviewers, he wondered, paying more attention to things like price and brand than the objective, measurable ability of the seat to protect its occupant? With two other researchers, Philip Fernbach and Donald Lichtenstein, Mr. de Langhe began a study that compared online reviews for items like air-conditioners and car batteries with the evaluations in Consumer Reports.

 

“Navigating by the Stars” was published in April in The Journal of Consumer Research. After analyzing 344,157 Amazon ratings of 1,272 products in 120 product categories, the researchers found “a substantial disconnect” between the objective quality information that online reviews actually convey and the extent to which consumers trust them.

 

In other words, the consumer saw a number — 4.6 stars out of 5 — and took it much more seriously than it merited.

 

Nearly half the time, Amazon reviewers and the Consumer Reports experts disagreed about which item in a random pair was better. Moreover, average user ratings did not predict resale value in the used-product marketplace, another traditional indicator of quality.

 

Julie Law, a spokeswoman for Amazon, said “Amazon customer reviews reflect the feedback, tastes and concerns of real customers, not professional reviewers. That’s what makes them powerful.” She also said the company was now giving more weight to the most recent helpful reviews from purchases that were verified.

 

Mr. de Langhe stuck with this recommendation: “You should rely much less on reviews than you currently do.”

 

That would be hard, because consumer reviews have wormed their way into offline life. In Amazon’s first physical bookstore, opened in a Seattle mall, good reviews from readers both help get the books selected for the store in the first place, and then are used to compel a sale. So the potential buyer is told via a “shelf-talker” — a card below the book — that Vladimir Nabokov’s “Lolita” was awarded 4.2 stars by readers, while George Orwell’s “1984” got 4.5 stars, as did “Pride and Prejudice.”

 

The store also carried some novels that are either self-published or from small publishers, and these often seemed to receive better ratings than the classics. Tamara Lyon’s “Post-Traumatic Brazilian Wax Syndrome,” in which an interior designer named Bristow Sparks tries to regroup after colliding with a park bench on a first date and suffering other disasters, got 4.7 stars.

 

Jordan Nasser fell just shy of a perfect score with his first novel about a gay New Yorker returning home to Tennessee, “Home Is a Fire.” He got 4.9 stars.

 

In an email from Stockholm, where he is now living, Mr. Nasser said the praises were an embarrassment of riches.

 

“Honestly, I wish ‘Home Is a Fire’ had received more three- and four-star reviews, in order to balance out the final result, because I think the sequel, ‘The Fire Went Wild,’ is a much better book,” he wrote.

 

In any case, Mr. Nasser said his book was not comparable to the classic books with lower ratings. “Absolutely not, and I would never imply that in any way,” he said.

 

Although that is exactly what anyone strolling through the store would think. Ms. Law of Amazon said, “We don’t think there’s anything here that needs to be fixed.”

 

The problem with reviews and ratings, said Joseph Reagle Jr., author of “Reading the Comments: Likers, Haters and Manipulators at the Bottom of the Web,” is that we have elevated them to supreme importance.

 

“They have always been somewhat subjective, arbitrary, capricious, befuddling, and bemusing,” he said. “I think what’s different is that we forget this is the case, particularly given the sheen of big data and quantification.”

 

Six months or so after Botto Bistro began trolling Yelp, the review site blinked. While it did not bend on the restaurant — a Yelp spokeswoman said Botto was simply cheating itself out of customers — the site reportedly began exploring offers to sell itself.

 

Yelp, which never officially commented on the sale process, was saying in essence that reviewing, at least for the moment, might have peaked. No deal was done, however, after the company took itself off the market last year. So Yelp soldiers on.

 

So does Botto. If you dig on Yelp, you will find reviewers who said they genuinely were not impressed, which is about where I fell. An adequate pizza, a good salad and a beer were $46, not including the minimum “suggested gratuity” of 18 percent — which, considering this is a place where you set your own table and pick up your food from the counter, was rather aggressive.

 

 

Source:  http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/09/technology/online-reviews-researchers-give-them-a-low-rating.html?_r=2

 

Categorized in Online Research

More and more students are turning to the Internet when doing research for their assignments, and more and more instructors are requiring such research when setting topics. However, research on the Net is very different from traditional library research, and the differences can cause problems. The Net is a tremendous resource, but it must be used carefully and critically.

The printed resources you find in the Library have almost always been thoroughly evaluated by experts before they are published. This process of "peer review" is the difference between, for example, an article in Time magazine and one in a journal such as the University of Toronto Quarterly. Furthermore, when books and other materials come into the University library system, they are painstakingly and systematically catalogued and cross-referenced using procedures followed by research libraries the world over. This process is the basis for the way materials are organized in the Library, and it makes possible the various search functions of the Web catalogue.

On the Internet, on the other hand, "anything goes." Anyone can put anything they want on a Web site, there is no review or screening process, and there are no agreed-upon standard ways of identifying subjects and creating cross-references. This is both the glory and the weakness of the Net - it's either freedom or chaos, depending on your point of view, and it means that you have to pay close attention when doing research on-line. There are a great many solid academic resources available on the Net, including hundreds of on-line journals and sites set up by universities and scholarly or scientific organizations. The University of Toronto Library's Electronic Resources page is one such academic source. Using material from those sources is no problem; it's just like going to the Library, only on-line. It's all the other stuff on the Net that you have to be cautious about.

Here are a few basic guidelines to remember:

Don't rely exclusively on Net resources. Sometimes your assignment will be to do research only on the Net, but usually your instructors will expect you to make use of both Internet and Library resources. Cross-checking information from the Net against information from the Library is a good way to make sure that the Net material is reliable and authoritative.

Narrow your research topic before logging on. The Internet allows access to so much information that you can easily be overwhelmed. Before you start your search, think about what you're looking for, and if possible formulate some very specific questions to direct and limit your search.

Know your subject directories and search engines. There are several high quality peer-reviewed subject directories containing links selected by subject experts. INFOMINE and Academic Info are good examples. These are excellent places to start your academic research on the Internet. Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines differ considerably in how they work, how much of the Net they search, and the kind of results you can expect to get from them. Spending some time learning what each search engine will do and how best to use it can help you avoid a lot of frustration and wasted time later. Because each one will find different things for you, it's a good idea to always use more than one search engine. For specialized search engines and directories you might also like to try Beaucoup which includes 2,500 + search engines and directories or the Search Engine Colossus International Directory of Search Engines that includes search engines from 230+ countries around the world.

Keep a detailed record of sites you visit and the sites you use. Doing research on the Net inevitably means visiting some sites that are useful and many that are not. Keeping track is necessary so that you can revisit the useful ones later, and also put the required references in your paper. Don't just rely on your browser's History function, because it retains the Web addresses or URLs of all the sites you visit, good or bad, and if you're using a computer at the University the memory in the History file will be erased at the end of your session. It's better to write down or bookmark the sites you've found useful, so that you'll have a permanent record.

Double-check all URLs that you put in your paper. It's easy to make mistakes with complicated Internet addresses, and typos will make your references useless. To be safe, type them into the Location box of your browser and check that they take you to the correct site.

The following points are guidelines for evaluating specific resources you find on the Net. If you ask these questions when looking at a Web site, you can avoid many errors and problems.

Authority

Who is the author?
Is the author's name given?
Are her qualifications specified?
Is there a link to information about her and her position?
Is there a way to contact her (an address or a "Mailto" link)?
Have you heard of her elsewhere (in class, or cited in your course text or in Library material)?
Has the author written elsewhere on this topic?

Affiliation

Who is the sponsor of the Web site?

Is the author affiliated with a reputable institution or organization?

Does the information reflect the views of the organization, or only of the author? If the sponsoring institution or organization is not clearly identified on the site, check the URL. It may contain the name of a university (U of T Mississauga's includes utoronto) or the extension .edu, which is used by many educational institutions. Government sites are identified by the extension .gov. URLs containing .org are trickier, and require research: these are sites sponsored by non-profit organizations, some of which are reliable sources and some of which are very biased. Sites with the .com extension should also be used with caution, because they have commercial or corporate sponsors who probably want to sell you something. The extension ~NAME often means a personal Web page with no institutional backing; use such sites only if you have checked on the author's credibility in print sources.

Audience Level

What audience is the Web site designed for? You want information at the college or research level. Don't use sites intended for elementary students or sites that are too technical for your needs.

Currency

Is the Web site current?

Is the site dated?

Is the date of the most recent update given? Generally speaking, Internet resources should be up-to-date; after all, getting the most current information is the main reason for using the Net for research in the first place.
Are all the links up-to-date and working? Broken links may mean the site is out-of-date; they're certainly a sign that it's not well-maintained.

Content Reliability/Accuracy

Is the material on the Web site reliable and accurate?
Is the information factual, not opinion?
Can you verify the information in print sources?
Is the source of the information clearly stated, whether original research material or secondary material borrowed from elsewhere?
How valid is the research that is the source?
Does the material as presented have substance and depth?
Where arguments are given, are they based on strong evidence and good logic?
Is the author's point of view impartial and objective?
Is the author's language free of emotion and bias?

Is the site free of errors in spelling or grammar and other signs of carelessness in its presentation of the material?
Are additional electronic and print sources provided to complement or support the material on the Web site?

If you can answer all these questions positively when looking at a particular site, then you can be pretty sure it's a good one; if it doesn't measure up one way or another, it's probably a site to avoid. The key to the whole process is to think critically about what you find on the Net; if you want to use it, you are responsible for ensuring that it is reliable and accurate.

Source:  http://www.writing.utoronto.ca/advice/reading-and-researching/research-using-internet

Categorized in Research Methods

Think about the last dance you attended. It may have been last week or thirty years ago, but in a crowded room, dancing is almost impossible because you keep running into other people, or furniture or walls get in your way. And in a dance, others may laugh at your dancing style or clothes.

Now think about your online genealogy as a dance that you are trying to navigate, but you keep running into other people, walls, others’ opinions, and other obstacles. Janet Hovorka addressed this in her presentation at the BYU Family History Conference on July 29, 2015, titled “Six Steps to Choreograph Your Research across the Internet.”

A common complaint about FamilySearch Family Tree is “Why do people come in and mess up my tree, change the information, set aside what I have done, leave me out of the family tree, and stop me from changing what I know to be correct?” Frustrations abound in these public family trees. Hovorka clarified this when she defined a public tree—making life and comprehension easier.

What is a public tree? She called it a “community” or a “public conclusion tree.” These trees are found in FamilySearch.org, MyHeritage.com, and Ancestry.com, among many others. Many people contribute to these online trees, giving hints, sharing sources, showing pictures, and telling stories. But there are problems using these trees if you don’t know how to interpret these databases. And, of course, when your conclusions are changed or questioned, you want to throw up your hands and say, “I’m not going to do this anymore!” Don’t stop! Hovorka said, “The six steps [below] will keep you moving and dancing around brick walls in your family history research.”

These “personal conclusion trees” are great for collaboration, but these six steps will help you to have fun with your “dance” in genealogy.

Step 1: Know what you are really looking at online. Distinguish between the quality conclusions of others and original documents about your ancestors’ lives.

The sources and good interpretation are the keys—dig deeply into those sources, compare them, find them, and interpret them. She said that “good researchers dig down deep into the sources to come to the original documents of a person’s life.” Make use of helps about sources, and study the many different places you can find them.

Step 2: Create a personal conclusion tree and know how to sync it and what you can attach to it from websites across the net.

This is the key to keeping the frustration level down: Make your own tree, offline, on your own computer by using your favorite program. Hovorka says that offline software solutions offer clear copyright application, more features and reports, no privacy issues for living people, and usually more speed. Some software packages synchronize with online tree and easily compare databases. Some of the most popular software applications include: FamilySearch – Legacy, Ancestral Quest, and RootsMagic; MyHeritage – Family Tree Builder, Family Historian and RootsMagic; Ancestry – Family Tree Maker. She suggests choosing one place to start a tree and look for information on the other websites.

Step 3: Know the best search strategies and where to go if you aren’t finding what you need.

Planning—the word sometimes is daunting, but creating a plan is absolutely necessary. She suggests clear research objectives, a plan to find the sources, learn about records, ask others in Wiki, use social networking, try different spellings of your names, and other research tips. BUT, keep track of everything you do so you and those who follow you don’t have to do the same work again and again.

Step 4: Use tabs, windows, and multiple screens to quickly work between sites.

Learn how to use the online features of your computer. Check on tutorials for your particular computer.

Step 5: Use timelines to constructs a bird’s eye view of your ancestor’s life and keep track of everything you find.

Make up a chart, using your program, Excel, or other sources, and write down all the material you have about, for example, the birth of your ancestor—maybe there are conflicts, but get everything, and put it down by date or event. You will find much information on your public conclusion tree. Put everything on your personal record that you can find. Then continue with Step 6.

Step 6: Record what you find with complete notations and analysis so that you don’t create any unnecessary brick walls.

As Hovorka said, “Good researchers dig down deep in the sources.” They document, collect all they can find, keep everything traceable by citing good records, and remember to use the all-important analysis in the notes section of their source citations.

Don’t create any unnecessary brick walls, and keep dancing!

Source:  https://familysearch.org/blog/en/6-steps-choreograph-research-internet/

Categorized in Research Methods

The Internet can be a researcher's dream come true. By browsing the Internet, much as you would browse the shelves of a library, you can access information on seemingly limitless topics. In addition, web-based catalogs are available in many libraries to assist researchers in locating printed books, journals, government documents, and other materials.

 

Possibly the biggest obstacle facing researchers on the Internet is how to effectively and efficiently access the vast amount of information available with the simple click of the mouse. With the Internet's potential as a research tool, teachers must instruct and guide their students on manageable strategies for sorting through the abundance of information. The search for reliable resources can be both overwhelming and frustrating if students are left on their own in their initial search. A few simple guidelines can make conducting research more manageable, reliable, and fun.

 

 

The research process

 

Lessons and projects should be designed so that research time on the Web can be maximized in terms of efficiency. This may mean gathering necessary information beforehand, having students work in groups, or focusing on whole-class projects.

Barron and Ivers (1996) outlined the following cycle for online research projects.

 

 

 

RESEARCH CYCLE ILLUSTRATION

 

 

 

Step 1: Questioning --- Before going on the Internet, students should structure their questions.
Step 2: Planning --- Students should develop a search strategy with a list of sites to investigate.
Step 3: Gathering --- Students use the Web to collect and gather information.
Step 4: Sorting & Sifting --- Students analyze and categorize the data they gathered on the Web.
Step 5: Synthesizing --- Students integrate the information into the lesson, and draw conclusions.
Step 6: Evaluating --- Students assess the results, and if necessary, begin the process again.

 

 

Searching the Web

 

There are billions of pages of information on the World Wide Web, and finding relevant and reliable information can be a challenge. Search engines are powerful tools that index millions of web sites. When entering a keyword into a search engine, you will receive a list with the number of hits or results and links to the related sites. The number of hits you receive may vary a great deal among different search engines. Some engines search only the titles of the web sites, and others search the full text.

 

Techniques for using the different search tools vary. For best results, read the search tips or hints that are provided at each search site. Also, note that some of the search engines do not allow Boolean searches that combine words with the logical connectors of AND, OR, or NOT.

 

Common commands for search engines include:

Quotation Marks ( " )
Using quotation marks will help to find specific phrases involving more than one word. For example: "Martin Luther King"
Addition Sign ( + )
Adding a + sign before a word means that it MUST be included in each site listed. For example: + Florida + taxes
Subtraction Sign ( - )
Adding a - sign before a word means that it will NOT appear in the sites listed. For example: + Washington -DC
Asterisks ( * )
Asterisks can be used for wild-cards in some search engines. For example: Mexic* will look for Mexico, Mexican, Mexicali, etc.

 

 

Search engine capabilities

 

Search engines are rated by the size of their index. Large engines such as Google are good tools to use when searching for obscure information, but one drawback to an extensive index is the overwhelming number of results on more general topics. If this is the case, it might be better to use a search engine with a directory structure such as Yahoo.

 

Many search engines provide directory-listing search tools such as yellow pages, white pages, and email addresses. In addition, many allow you to personalize their site to your needs. For example, you might want to set the attributes of the page to show educational news headlines and your favorite teacher resource links. In the preferences of your web browser, you can then set this page as your home start-up page.

 

 

Search engines especially for children

 

Search engines designed for younger students are useful tools for the classroom. They screen for inappropriate material and provide appropriate sites for students on topics related to educational and entertainment purposes. Using these sites helps to narrow the scope of hits on a search inquiry. As a result, the student will spend less time reading irrelevant material.

 

Although some search engines allow you to turn on filters to help filter out adult content, they are not always thorough or accurate. There are several good search engines that are specifically designed for the younger audience, such as Ask Jeeves and Yahooligans.

 

 

Evaluating Internet sources

 

Students often uncritically accept information they see in print or on computer screens. Students should be encouraged to carefully evaluate sources found on the Internet. The evaluation tool (below) will help students analyze web resources in terms of accuracy, authority, objectivity, timeliness, and coverage. Consideration of these factors will weed out many of the inaccurate or trivial sites students may encounter.

 

 

Analyzing web resources

 

Answer the following questions to evaluate web resources.
Accuracy
Are sources listed for the facts?
Can information be verified through another source?
Has the site been edited for grammar, spelling, etc.?

 

Authority


Is the publisher reputable?
Is the sponsorship clear?
Is a phone number or postal address available?
Is there a link to the sponsoring organization?
Is the author qualified to write on this topic?

 

Objectivity


Does the sponsor have commercial interests?
Is advertising included on the page?
Are there obvious biases?

 

Currency


Is a publication date indicated?
Is there a date for the last update?
Is the topic one that does not change frequently?

Coverage


Are the topics covered in depth?
Does the content appear to be complete?

 

 

Setting bookmarks on the Web

 

Browsers such as Safari, Firefox, and Internet Explorer provide a way to create a list of your favorite sites that you can access with a click of the mouse. The procedure for creating a list of sites is an easy and powerful tool for web use. When you find a web page that you want to bookmark, simply select the "Add Bookmark" or "Add Favorite" option from the menu bar. To return to the site at a later time, choose the name from the bookmark or favorite list, and you will immediately access the site. You can organize your bookmarks into file folders and can save them on a disk to transfer and use on other computers.

 

 

Copyright issues

 

Teachers and students have a somewhat flexible, but not unlimited, copyright privilege under the "fair use clause" of the U.S. Copyright Act. "Fair use" is the means by which educators of non-profit educational institutions may use copyrighted works without seeking permission or making payment to the author or publisher. Teachers and students are also protected to some extent by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which went into effect in October 1998. Under current guidelines, teachers and students are able to make limited use of copyrighted materials for instructional purposes.

 

Currently, copyright law as it relates to the Internet is vague and being challenged and rewritten on an ongoing basis. However, the guidelines of the "fair use clause" can be applied to Internet use in the classroom. Although classroom use allows teachers and students to be creative, you must also be extremely careful. Teachers and students should realize that all materials found on the Internet are protected by the same copyright laws as printed materials. Copyright protects "original works of authorship" that are in a tangible form of expression.

 

Copyrightable works include the following categories:

 

literary works
musical works, including any accompanying words
dramatic works, including any accompanying music, pantomimes, and choreographic works
pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works
motion pictures and other audiovisual works
sound recordings
architectural works
These categories should be viewed broadly. For example, computer programs and most "compilations" may be registered as "literary works"; maps and architectural plans may be registered as "pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works."

 

Important questions to ask

 

What is the purpose for using the material?
Who is the audience?
How widely will the material be distributed?
Will the material be reproduced?
It is allowable under copyright guidelines to use copyrighted materials for class assignments. Check specific guidelines for length of time the material can be kept up on a web site.

 

When in doubt, ask.


If you and your students find a graphic or portion of a text on the Internet that you want to utilize in a class project, locate the source of the web site and email them to ask permission for use of their graphic or text. Many web site designers are happy for you to "borrow" their graphics and words. Some ask that you give them credit and others do not. Although your students may be too young to comprehend copyright law, they can understand the concept of respecting someone else's property.

 

It is advisable for school sites to have an online service provider or an "agent" who can act as a filter on copyright issues. The agent would be the person someone would notify if they found a copyright violation on a student or school web site. In most cases, you are simply asked to remove the offending copyright violation.

 

For more information on fair use guidelines for educational multimedia, go to the
Multimedia Fair Use Guidelines (CCMC) web site.

 

Copyright discussions with students may include:

 

Does copyright apply to student web pages? Any original work of authorship, whether created by a student, teacher, or professional is protected by the copyright laws. An original piece of work does not need to possess or display a copyright to be protected under the copyright laws.
May students "borrow" art, sound, animation, etc., from others' web pages? Resources (such as graphics and sound files) from most web sites are copyright protected and require permission to use, but the resources at some web sites are advertised as "free" for use. These web sites may require that credit is given to the original source of the materials.

 

 

Student activity: Finding a Needle in Cyberspace

 

Using the major search engines on the Web, find the best way to look for a needle. Fill out the following chart, noting the number of hits you receive in each of the search engines for the word needle and the phrase "Space Needle." Then, answer the questions at the bottom of the page.

Search Engine Search for: needle Search for: "Space Needle"
Excite
Google
Webcrawler
Yahoo!

 

Which search engine would be the best if you were looking for something very obscure?
Did searching for "Space Needle" always result in more hits or less hits than searching for needle? Why?
Which search engine seemed to display the result fastest?
Try another search. This time, look for sites that contain all of these words: needle, sleeping, and beauty. (Hint: On many of the search engines you can specify that certain words MUST be included by adding a + in front of the word: +needle +sleeping +beauty.)

 

Source:  http://fcit.usf.edu/internet/chap5/chap5.htm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categorized in Research Methods
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