How to Become a Better Online Researcher?

The internet is your home when it comes to chatting via Messenger, posting selfies on Instagram, and watching videos on YouTube. However, all of that doesn’t necessarily bring you knowledge you can use for research. As you progress through education, Internet research skills become more and more important, and for a good reason.

Your professors and future employers expect you to know how to manage the scholarly side of the web. And this skill has to be honed like any other, especially when you are a student. Doing a complicated search requires some determination and passion. Besides that, you should know how to utilize different sources of information to prove and support your statements. We are about to give you some tips on how to become a more digitally literate person.

Keywords

Many students think that searching for information means just typing keywords in Google search field, clicking on one of the top results, and rewriting the content you have found there. However, this strategy is not very helpful when you actually care about your grades. To get relevant sources, you have to know that the keywords and their relevance determine the quality of content that you are looking for. With this in mind, you have to be as much clear and specific as possible.

Remember, search engines don’t really get sentences. Instead, they understand the keywords in your request and produce a list of relevant sites. In a word, you cannot pose Google or Yahoo a question, you are asking them to find web-pages that contain particular words. Therefore, choosing the most suitable keywords combination is the best way to find what you need. But how to determine which keywords you should use?

Think about your topic and choose the core words in it. For instance, if you are looking for Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” analysis, you can write “shakespeare macbeth analysis”. However, if you are looking for a “Macbeth” language analysis, you can add the word “language”. It might sound obvious, but these specifications will significantly boost the effectiveness of your search.

If you realize that the results that pop up do not precisely match your request, you can change or exclude certain phrases or words. Most search engines also allow you to limit the search results by country, time, and type. Don’t forget that there are tabs at the top of the page that allow you to choose whether you need images, videos, news, and so on.

Making the most of Google Scholar

You must be aware of such useful resource as Google Scholar. This service provides an advanced search among reliable peer-reviewed scholarly materials, such as scientific articles, books, theses, and abstracts composed by professional academicians, publishers, universities, and other professional societies. If you feel unsure as to how to use this service, take a look at some tips:

  • Finding recent documents

Google sorts your results by relevance. So if you need to get them sorted by date and find newly published articles on your topic, try the following options: the button “Since year” displays recently published documents; the button “Sort by date” shows recent additions by date.

  • Subscribe to get the full text

As a rule, you can preview the abstract of an article. However, some articles are not available, and if you want to have a look at a full version, you will have to subscribe.

  • Try adding PDF to your search request

Doing so, you will have more chances to find the full text of the article.

  • Getting better results

If you are not familiar with the topic, learn the terminology first. For instance, if you are looking for articles about “overweight”, check Wikipedia and you will find out that the scientific name for it is “hyperalimentation”. Using the right terminology will help you get better results.

  • Check out what the articles are citing

If the results are too specific, look through the “References” page of the articles you have found. In most cases, the materials there are more general.

  • Get even more

Your main research question must have more than one answer. Click “Cited by” button to get a relevant paper, or search other works written by the same author.

Searching within a website

If you are using a website like StudentShare, you can benefit from the in-built search system. As for our resource, we do everything possible to make your search effective. To help you get what you really need, we have designed an advanced search tool, which allows you to:

  • Search for the keywords and phrases not only in a title of the document but also throughout the entire text
  • Add exact phrases and words
  • Exclude exact words from the search

Hopefully, this article will help you acquire knowledge using the web with ease. Search effectively, read critically, and best of luck!