So, I think it time to teach Internet search strategies a little more explicitly. (Even the New York Times recently posted a lesson plan for dealing with Internet searching skills.)
These are the search strategies I start with for my students when they begin their projects:
- Take note of the domain names types (.gov & .edu tend to have most "reliable" info)
- Check the "About Us" to see if the site seems reliable. Sometimes "Contact Us" or "FAQs" or that site's own blog can also provide valuable hints to a page's reliability.
- Try searching -.com or +.edu. (ex: Twitter -.com) NOTE: There is no space between the "-" and the domain name type.
- Try putting your search item in quotes. (ex: "history of Mt. Vesuvius" instead of just history of Mt. Vesuvius)
- Try subtracting or add words (for example type 'Tiger -Woods' to search for info on the animal.) NOTE: There is no space between the "-" and word you are subtracting.
- Try clicking on the little superscript numbers in Wikipedia articles to find out the source that is used. Or, just scroll down to the bottom of the Wikipedia article and look over all of the sources used.
- Try searching popular news, tech, or science sites - (Newsweek, Time, New York Times, SFGate, Gizmodo, TechCrunch, CrunchBase, USGS, National Geographic, etc. (ex: "Foursquare +Chicago Tribune")
- Use other media as sources for information, such as videos (TED talks, YouTube interviews) or podcasts (KQED, NPR)
And, don't forget when you are searching to cite the websites you use!
You can also use Wolfram Alpha. For instance, to search for "tiger":
In Foursquare +Chicago Tribune you need to put 'Chicago Tribune' in quotes if you don't just want to search Chicago
Ex. Foursquare +"Chicago Tribune"
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