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Research 101

The steps of the research process & how to apply them.

2d. Find Websites

Using the Web

Your research should focus on the library resources, where you will more likely locate high-quality academic materials. However, the internet contains good information, especially of a general nature, if you know how to find it.

Search Strategies

Figure 1
Google Search Tips & Tricks

Note. From Google Search Tips & Tricks That Get You Better Results!, by Brett in Tech, , YouTube ( Copyright by Brett in Tech.

Search like a pro.

Most of these tips refer specifically to Google, but some will work with any search engine.

  • Search specific sites or domains using site.

    Examples: site:gov,

  • Remove words, domains, or sites by using a minus sign.

    Example: crime rates.

  • Use quotation marks to search for an exact phrase.

    Example: "winter of our discontent"

  • Use an asterisk for a missing word or a word you aren’t sure about.

    Example: philosophy of * century.

  • Use related to find websites similar to a specific site.


  • Search for a specific file type using filetype.

    Example: environmental report filetype:pdf.

  • Use intitle to limit results to websites with your search terms in their titles.

    Example: intitle:logistics.

  • Perform a reverse image search on Google Images by clicking the camera icon to upload an image or by copying an image’s URL into the search bar.

  • Use Google Advanced Search to craft a more precise search.

Assessing Online Resources

Figure 2
Assessing Online Resources

Note. From Assessing Online Resources, by 1LIONTV, , YouTube ( CC-BY.

Want Privacy?

Reduce tracking while searching.

You cannot entirely prevent the harvesting of your data when you browse the web, but you can minimize it by using ad or tracker blockers and by choosing certain search engines.

The presence of an extension or website on the following list should not be understood as an endorsement.

Read Websites Critically

Anyone can publish anything on the internet.

Use the Spider Method to ensure that your internet sources are appropriate for your research.


Who wrote the information? Is he qualified? If you can’t find an author, you shouldn’t trust the information until you verify it elsewhere.


Why does this website exist? Is it intended to sell a product or convince readers of something? Can you detect any bias?


Is the information current? Check for a publication date. If there isn’t one, you need to verify currency with another source.


Be aware of the host site. Is the domain .edu or .gov? These domains sometimes have more authoritative or reliable information.


Who is the intended audience? Is there adequate depth to the information? Are you sure it’s not a hoax site or satire?


Is the same information available on other websites? Triangulate with other sources to improve the chance of getting complete or accurate information.