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Warning: if you are going to argue a point about politics, medicine, animal care, or gun control, then you better take the time to make your argument legit.  Spending 10 seconds with Google and copy-pasting Wikipedia links doesn't cut it. The standard for an intelligent argument is 

Legitimate researchis called RE-search for a reason: patient repetition and careful filtering is what will win the day.

There are over 86 billion web pages published, and most of those pages are not worth quoting. To successfully sift it all, you must use consistent and reliable filtering methods. You will need patience to see the full breadth of writing on any single topic. And you will need your critical thinking skills to disbelieve anything until it is intelligently validated.

If you are a student, or if you are seeking serious medical, professional, or historical information, definitely heed these 8 suggested steps to researching online:

 

1.  Decide if the Topic Is 'Hard Research', 'Soft Research', or Both.

'Hard' and 'soft' research have different expectations of data and proof.  You should know the hard or soft nature of your topic to point your search strategy where it will yield the most reliable research results.

A) 'Hard research' describes scientific and objective research, where proven facts, figures, statistics, and measurable evidence are absolutely critical. In hard research, the credibility of every resource must be able to withstand intense scrutiny.

B) 'Soft research'describes topics that are more subjective, cultural, and opinion-based.  Soft research sources will be less scrutinized by the readers.

 C) Combined soft and hard research requires the most work, because this hybrid topic broadens your search requirements.  Not only do you need to find hard facts and figures, but you will need to debate against very strong opinions to make your case.  Politics and international economy topics are the biggest examples of hybrid research.

2.  Choose Which Online Authorities Are Suitable for Your Research Topic.

A) Hard research topics require hard facts and academically-respected evidence.  An opinion blog will not cut it; you will need to find publications by scholars, experts, and professionals with credentials. The Invisible Web will often be important forhard research.  Accordingly, here are possible content areas for your hard research topic:

  1. Academic journals  (e.g. a list of academic search engines here).
  2. Government publications (e.g. Google's 'Uncle Sam' search).
  3. Government authorities (e.g. theNHTSA)
  4. Scientific and medical content, sanctioned by known authorites (e.g. Scirus.com).
  5. Non-government websites that are NOT influenced by advertising and obvious sponsorship e.g.Consumer Watch)
  6. Archived news (e.g.Internet Archive)
  7. Blogs, including personal opinion blogs and amateur writer blogs (e.g. ConsumerReports, UK politics).
  8. Forums and discussion sites (e.g. Police discussion forum)
  9. Consumer product review sites (e.g. ZDnet, Epinions).
  10. Commercial sites that are advertising-driven (e.g. About.com)
  11. Tech and computer sites  (e.g.). 
  12. Firstly, start with broad initial researching atInternet Public Library,DuckDuckGo,Clusty/Yippy,Wikipedia, andMahalo. This will give you a broad sense of what categories and related topics are out there, and give you possible directions to aim your research.
  13. Secondly, narrow and deepen your Visible Web searchingwithGoogle and.  Once you have experimented with combinations of 3 to 5 different keywords, these 3 search engines will deepen the results pools for your keywords.
  14. Thirdly, go beyond Google, forInvisble Web(Deep Web) searching.BecauseInvisible Web pagesare not spidered by Google, you'll need to be patient and use slower and more specificsearch engineslike:

B) Soft research topics are often about collating the opinions of respected online writers.  Many soft research authorities are not academics, but rather writers who have practical experience in their field. Soft research usually means the following sources:

3.  Use Different Search Engines and Keywords

Now comes the primary legwork: using differentsearch enginesand using 3-5keywordcombinations. Patient and constant adjusting of your keywords are key here.

4.  Bookmark and Stockpile Possible Good Content.

While this step is simple, this is the second-slowest part of the whole process:  this is where we gather all the possible ingredients into organized piles, which we sift through later.  Here is the suggested routine for bookmarking pages:

  1. CTRL-Clickthe interesting search engine result links. This will spawn anew tab pageeach time you CTRL-Click.
  2. When you have 3 or 4new tabs, quickly browse them and do an initial assessment on their credibility.
  3. Bookmark any tabs you consider credible on first glance.
  4. Close the tabs.
  5. Repeat with the next batch of links.
  6. Carefully consider the author/source, and the date of publication.Is the author an authority with professional credentials, or someone who is peddling their wares and trying to sell you a book? Is the page undated, or unusually old?  Does the page have its owndomain name(e.g. honda.com, e.g. gov.co.uk), or is it some deep and obscure page buried at MySpace?
  7. Be suspicious of personal web pages, and any commercial pages that have a shoddy, amateurish presentation.Spelling errors,grammar errors, poor formatting, cheesy advertising on the side, absurd fonts, too many blinking emoticons... these are all red flags that the author is not a serious resource, and does not care about the quality of their publishing.
  8. Be suspicious of scientific or medical pages that display scientific or medical advertising.For example: if you are researching veterinarian advice, be wary if the veterinarian web page displays blatant advertising for dog medicine or pet food.  Advertisingcanpossiblyindicate a conflict of interest or hidden agenda behind the writer's content.
  9. Be suspicious of any ranting, overstating, overly-positive, or overly-negative commentary.If the author insists on ranting and crying foul, or conversely seems to shower excessive praise, that could be a red flag that there is dishonesty and fraudulent motivations behind the writing.
  10. Commercial consumer websites can be good resources, but be skeptical of every comment you read.  Just because 7 people rave that Pet Food X is good for their dogs does not necessarily mean it is good for your dog. Similarly, if 5 people out of 600 complain about a particular vendor, that doesn't mean the vendor is necessarily bad. Be patient, be skeptical, and be slow to form an opinion.
  11. Use your intuition if something seems amiss with the web page.  Perhaps the author is just a little too positive, or seems a little too closed to other opinions.  Maybe the author uses profanity, name-calling, or insults to try to make his point.  The formatting of the page might seem childlike and haphazard.  Or you get the sense that the author is trying to sell you something.  If you get any subconcious sense that there is something not quite right about the web page, then trust your intuition.
  12. Use Google 'link:' feature to see the 'backlinks' for a page.  This technique will list incoming hyperlinks from the major websites that recommend the web page of interest. These backlinks will give you an indicator how much respect the author has earned around the Internet.  Simply go to google and enter 'link:www.(theweb page's address)' to see the backlinks listed.
  13. The MLA citing method
  14. The APA citing method
  15. Multiple tab pages open simultaneously.
  16. Bookmarks/favorites that are fast and easy to manage.
  17. Page history that is easy to recall.
  18. Loads pages quickly for your computer's memory size.

This method, after about 45 minutes, will have yielded you dozens of bookmarks to sift through.

5.  Filter and Validate the Content.

This is the slowest step of all: vetting and filtering which content is legitimate, and which is drivelous trash.  If you are doing hard research, this is also the most important step of all, because your resources MUST withstand close examination later.

6.  Make a Final Decision on Which Argument You Now Support.

After spending a few hours researching, your initial opinion may have changed.  Maybe you are relieved, maybe you are more afraid, maybe you've just learned something and opened your mind that much more.  Whichever it is, you will need to have an informed opinion if you are about to publish a report or thesis for your professor.

If you have a new opinion, you might have to redo your research(or re-sift your existing research bookmarks) in order to collate facts that support your new opinion andthesis statement.    

 

7.  Quote and Cite the Content.

While there is not a single universal standard for citing (acknowledging) quotes from the Internet,  the Modern Language Association and American Psychological Association are two very respected citing methods:

 Here is an example MLA citation:

 Aristotle. Poetics. Trans. S. H. Butcher. The Internet Classics Archive.
Web Atomic and Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
13 Sept. 2007. Web. 4 Nov. 2008. ‹http://classics.mit.edu/›.
 

Here is a sample APA citation:

Bernstein, M. (2002). 10 tips on writing the living Web. A
List Apart: For People Who Make Websites, 149.
Retrieved fromhttp://www.alistapart.com/articles/writeliving

More details:how to cite Internet references.

More details: The Purdue University Owl Guide explains both of these citing methods in detail: 

Remember: DO NOT PLAGIARIZE.  You must either directly quote the author, or rewrite and summarize the content (along with appropriate citing).  But to restate the author's words as your own is illegal, and will get you a failing mark on your thesis or paper.

8.  Choose a Research-Friendly Web Browser

Researching is repetitive and slow.  You will want a tool that supports many open pages, and easily backtracks through previous pages.  A good research-friendly Web browser offers:

Of the many choices in 2014,the best research browsers are Chrome and Firefox, followed by Opera. IE10 is also a competent browser, but try the previous 3 choices for their speed and memory economy.

9.  Good Luck with Your Internet Researching!

Yes, it's re-searching....the slow and repetitive method of sifting good information from the bad. It should feel slow because it's about diligence and skeptical hard questioning.  But keep your attitude positive, and enjoy the discovery process.  While 90% of what you read you will discard, take pleasure in how funny (and how idiotic) some internet content is, and put your CTRL-Click tabs and your bookmark/favorites to good use.

Be patient, be skeptical, be curious, and be slow to form an opinion! 

 

Source : http://netforbeginners.about.com/od/navigatingthenet/tp/How-to-Properly-Research-Online.htm

Categorized in Online Research

Here are the top 15 Most Popular Search Engines as derived from our eBizMBA Rank which is a continually updated average of each website's Alexa Global Traffic Rank, and U.S. Traffic Rank from both Compete and Quantcast."*#*" Denotes an estimate for sites with limited data.

Google1 | Google
1 - eBizMBA Rank | 1,600,000,000 - Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 1 - Compete Rank | 1 - Quantcast Rank | 1 - Alexa Rank | Last Updated: September 1, 2016.
The Most Popular Search Engines | eBizMBA

Bing2 | Bing
15 - eBizMBA Rank | 400,000,000 - Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 5 - Compete Rank | 19 - Quantcast Rank | 22 - Alexa Rank | Last Updated: September 1, 2016.
The Most Popular Search Engines | eBizMBA

Yahoo!3 | Yahoo! Search
18 - eBizMBA Rank | 300,000,000 - Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | *8* - Compete Rank | *28*- Quantcast Rank | NA - Alexa Rank | Last Updated: September 1, 2016.
The Most Popular Search Engines | eBizMBA

search engine list

  • Over 1500+ Searchable Directories, Search Engines, Archives and Portals
  • All links are tested for being LIVE and working.
  • Information resources tested and rated for information Relevance, Subject and Resource Reliability and Data Quality through AIRS Resource Scoring Process.

Ask4 | Ask
25 - eBizMBA Rank | 245,000,000 - Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 14 - Compete Rank | 31 - Quantcast Rank | 31 - Alexa Rank | Last Updated: September 1, 2016.
The Most Popular Search Engines | eBizMBA

Aol Search5 | Aol Search
245 - eBizMBA Rank | 125,000,000 - Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | *250* - Compete Rank |*240* - Quantcast Rank | NA - Alexa Rank | Last Updated: September 1, 2016.
The Most Popular Search Engines | eBizMBA

Wow6 | Wow
271 - eBizMBA Rank | 100,000,000 - Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 20 - Compete Rank | *26*- Quantcast Rank | 767 - Alexa Rank | Last Updated: September 1, 2016.
The Most Popular Search Engines | eBizMBA

Web Crawler7 | WebCrawler
511 - eBizMBA Rank | 65,000,000 - Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 100 - Compete Rank | 759 - Quantcast Rank | 674 - Alexa Rank | Last Updated: September 1, 2016.
The Most Popular Search Engines | eBizMBA

My Web Search8 | MyWebSearch
545 - eBizMBA Rank | 60,000,000 - Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | *105* - Compete Rank |1,124 - Quantcast Rank | 405 - Alexa Rank | Last Updated: September 1, 2016.
The Most Popular Search Engines | eBizMBA

Infospace9 | Infospace
892 - eBizMBA Rank | 24,000,000 - Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | *66* - Compete Rank |*500* - Quantcast Rank | 2,110 - Alexa Rank | Last Updated: September 1, 2016.
The Most Popular Search Engines | eBizMBA

Related links

Info10 | Info
1,064 - eBizMBA Rank | 13,500,000 - Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 378 - Compete Rank |877 - Quantcast Rank | 1,938 - Alexa Rank | Last Updated: September 1, 2016.
The Most Popular Search Engines | eBizMBA

Duck Duck Go11 | DuckDuckGo
1,605 - eBizMBA Rank | 13,000,000 - Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 1,898 - Compete Rank |2,290 - Quantcast Rank | 629 - Alexa Rank | Last Updated: September 1, 2016.
The Most Popular Search Engines | eBizMBA

Contentko12 | Contenko
2,402 - eBizMBA Rank | 11,000,000 - Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | *200* - Compete Rank |*2,500* - Quantcast Rank | 4,505 - Alexa Rank | Last Updated: September 1, 2016.
The Most Popular Search Engines | eBizMBA

Dogpile13 | Dogpile
2,421 - eBizMBA Rank | 10,500,000 - Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 2,734 - Compete Rank |1,446 - Quantcast Rank | 3,084 - Alexa Rank | Last Updated: September 1, 2016.
The Most Popular Search Engines | eBizMBA

Alhea14 | Alhea
4,300 - eBizMBA Rank | 7,500,000 - Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 451 - Compete Rank |*1,225* - Quantcast Rank | 11,225 - Alexa Rank | Last Updated: September 1, 2016.
The Most Popular Search Engines | eBizMBA

ixquick15 | ixQuick
8,954 - eBizMBA Rank | 4,000,000 - Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 12,512 - Compete Rank |4,468 - Quantcast Rank | 9,857 - Alexa Rank | Last Updated: September 1, 2016.
The Most Popular Search Engines | eBizMBA

Source : ebizmba.com

Categorized in Search Engine

Google, MSN Search, Yahoo!, AOL, and most other search engines collect and store records of your search queries. If these records are revealed to others, they can be embarrassing or even cause great harm. Would you want strangers to see searches that reference your online reading habits, medical history, finances, sexual orientation, or political affiliation?

Recent events highlight the danger that search logs pose. In August 2006, AOL published 650,000 users' search histories on its website.1 Though each user's logs were only associated with a random ID number, several users' identities were readily discovered based on their search queries. For instance, the New York Times connected the logs of user No. 4417749 with 62 year-old Thelma Arnold. These records exposed, as she put it, her "whole personal life."2

Disclosures like AOL's are not the only threats to your privacy. Unfortunately, it may be all too easy for the government or individual litigants to subpoena your search provider and get access to your search history. For example, in January 2006, Yahoo!, AOL, and Microsoft reportedly cooperated with a broad Justice Department request for millions of search records. Although Google successfully challenged this request,3 the lack of clarity in current law leaves your online privacy at risk.

Search companies should limit data retention and make their logging practices more transparent to the public,4 while Congress ought to clarify and strengthen privacy protections for search data. But you should also take matters into your own hands and adopt habits that will help protect your privacy.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has developed the following search privacy tips. They range from straightforward steps that offer a little protection to more complicated measures that offer near-complete safety. While we strongly urge users to follow all six tips, a lesser level of protection might be sufficient depending on your particular situation and willingness to accept risks to your privacy.

1. Don't put personally identifying information in your search terms (easy)

Don't search for your name, address, credit card number, social security number, or other personal information. These kinds of searches can create a roadmap that leads right to your doorstep. They could also expose you to identity theft and other privacy invasions.

If you want to do a "vanity search" for your own name5 (and who isn't a little vain these days?), be sure to follow the rest of our tips or do your search on a different computer than the one you usually use for searching.

2. Don't use your ISP's search engine (easy)

Because your ISP knows who you are, it will be able to link your identity to your searches. It will also be able to link all your individual search queries into a single search history. So, if you are a Comcast broadband subscriber, for instance, you should avoid using http://search.comcast.net. Similarly, if you're an AOL member, do not use http://search.aol.com or the search box in AOL's client software.


3. Don't login to your search engine or related tools (intermediate)

Search engines sometimes give you the opportunity to create a personal account and login. In addition, many engines are affiliated with other services -- Google with Gmail and Google Chat; MSN with Hotmail and MSN Messenger; A9 with Amazon, and so on. When you log into the search engine or one of those other services, your searches can be linked to each other and to your personal account.

So, if you have accounts with services like Google GMail or Hotmail, do not search through the corresponding search engine (Google or MSN Search, respectively), especially not while logged in.

If you must use the same company's search engine and webmail (or other service), it will be significantly harder to protect your search privacy. You will need to do one of the following:

Install two different web browsers to separate your search activities from your other accounts with the search provider. For example, use Mozilla Firefox for searching through Yahoo!, and Internet Explorer for Yahoo! Mail and other Yahoo! service accounts.6 You must also follow Tip 6 for at least one of the two browsers.7

For Google and its services, you can use the Mozilla Firefox web browser and the CustomizeGoogle plugin software. Go to http://www.customizegoogle.com/ and click "Install." Restart Firefox and then select "CustomizeGoogle Options" from the "Tools" menu. Click on the "Privacy" tab and turn on "Anonymize the Google cookie UID." You must remember to quit your browser after using GMail and before using the Google search engine.8 In addition, be sure not to select the "remember me on this computer" option when you log into a Google service.

If you are using a browser other than Firefox, you can use the GoogleAnon bookmarklet, which you can obtain at http://www.imilly.com/google-cookie.htm. You will need to quit your browser every time you finish with a Google service. Unfortunately, we currently do not know of similar plugins for other search providers.9

4. Block "cookies" from your search engine (intermediate)

If you've gone through the steps above, your search history should no longer have personally identifying information all over it. However, your search engine can still link your searches together using cookies and IP addresses.10 Tip 4 will prevent tracking through cookies, while Tips 5-6 will prevent IP-based tracking. It's best to follow Tips 3-6 together -- there is less benefit in preventing your searches from being linked together in one way if they can be linked in another.

Cookies are small chunks of information that websites can put on your computer when you visit them. Among other things, cookies enable websites to link all of your visits and activities at the site. Since cookies are stored on your computer, they can let sites track you even when you are using different Internet connections in different locations. But when you use a different computer, your cookies don't come with you.11

From a privacy-protection perspective, it would be best to block all cookies. However, because cookies are necessary for accessing many websites, it may be more convenient (though less privacy-protective) to allow short-lived "session" cookies. These cookies last only as long as your browser is open; therefore, if you quit your browser, re-open it, and then go back to your search engine, your search provider will not be able to connect your current searches with previous ones via your cookies.

Use the following steps to allow only "session cookies," and remember to quit your browser at least once a day but ideally after each visit to your search provider's site. We recommend that you use Mozilla Firefox and apply these settings:

  • From the "Edit" menu, select "Preferences"
  • Click on "Privacy"
  • Select the "Cookies" tab
  • Set "Keep Cookies" to "until I close Firefox" 12
  • Click on "Exceptions," type in the domains of all of your search sites, and choose "Block" for all of them


If you use Microsoft Internet Explorer to surf the web:

  • From the Internet Explorer "Tools" menu, select "Internet Options"
  • Click on the "Privacy" tab and then press the "Advanced" button
  • Click on "Override automatic cookie handling"
  • Set both "first party" and "third party" cookies to "Block"
  • Select "Always allow session cookies"

5. Vary your IP address (intermediate)

When you connect to the Internet, your ISP assigns your computer an "IP address" (for instance, EFF's web server's IP address is 72.5.169.162). Search providers -- and other services you interact with online -- can see your IP address and use that number to link together all of your searches. IP addresses are particularly sensitive because they can be directly linked to your ISP account via your ISP's logs. Unlike cookies, your IP address does not follow your computer wherever it goes; for instance, if you use your laptop at work through AT&T, it will have a different IP address than when you use it at home through Comcast.

If your ISP gives you a changing, "dynamic" IP address,13 or you surf from an office computer that is behind the same firewall as lots of other computers, then this concern is diminished. However, if you have a dynamic IP address on a broadband connection, you will need to turn your modem off regularly to make the address change. The best way to do this is to turn your modem off when you finish with your computer for the day, and leave it off overnight.

On the other hand, if you have an unchanging, "static" IP address, you will certainly need to use anonymizing software to keep your address private; see Tip 6.


6. Use web proxies and anonymizing software like Tor (advanced)

To hide your IP address from the web sites you visit or the other computers you communicate with on the Internet, you can use other computers as proxies for your own -- you send your communication to the proxy; the proxy sends it to the intended recipient; and the intended recipient responds to the proxy. Finally, the proxy relays the response back to your computer. All of this sounds complicated, and it can be, but luckily there are tools available that can do this for you fairly seamlessly.

Tor (http://www.torproject.org) is a software product that encrypts then sends your Internet traffic through a series of randomly selected computers, thus obscuring the source and route of your requests. It allows you to communicate with another computer on the Internet without that computer, the computers in the middle, or eavesdroppers knowing where or who you are. Tor is not perfect, but it would take a sophisticated surveillance effort to thwart its protections.14

You also need to make sure that your messages themselves don't reveal who you are. Privoxy (http://www.privoxy.org) helps with this, because it strips out hidden identifying information from the messages you send to web sites. Privoxy also has the nice side benefit of blocking most advertisements and can be configured to manage cookies. (Privoxy comes bundled with Tor downloads.)

You can also use web proxies like Anonymizer's (http://www.anonymizer.com) Anonymous Surfing. This option is more user-friendly but possibly a less effective method of anonymizing your browsing. Anonymizer routes your web surfing traffic through their own proxy server and hides your IP address from whatever web sites you visit. However, Anonymizer itself could in principle have access to your original IP address and be able to link it to the web site you visited; therefore, that service is only as secure as Anonymizer's proxy facilities and data retention practices. While there is no reason to believe that Anonymizer looks at or reveals your information to others (we know the people currently running Anonymizer and they are good folks), there is little opportunity to verify their practices in these regards.

Using Tor and Privoxy is more secure because one untrustworthy proxy won't compromise your search privacy. On the other hand, web proxies like Anonymizer are slightly easier to use at present.

Tor and Privoxy downloads and instructions can be found here: http://www.torproject.org/download.html.en


Conclusion

If you've implemented all six tips, congratulations -- you're now ready to search the Web safely. These steps don't provide bulletproof protection, but they do create a strong shield against the most common and likely means of invading your privacy via your search history.

Source:
https://www.eff.org/wp/six-tips-protect-your-search-privacy 

Categorized in Online Research
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