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What are the Best Tips for Internet Research?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated May 16, 2024
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The Internet is a popular as well as powerful research tool as it can access all types of information from anywhere in the world. Internet marketing research or academic research can be accessed in seconds. Starting with a clear idea of exactly what type of information is needed can make the process of doing Internet research quick and efficient.

Search engines and directories are the two kinds of Internet research organizers and these are best used for accessing certain types of information. For instance, when researching a general topic such as botany with the intent of finding a wide range of information on the subject from many different sources, directories tend to work best. An Internet directory is categorized by subject and directories are on the Deep Web which can't be accessed with a regular web crawler or regular search engines. A Deep Web search engine such as CloserLookSearch can access academic or library databases by topics that are run through subscriptions. The Deep Web, which is also called the hidden or invisible Web or Deepnet, refers to everything beyond the search engine accessed surface Web.

If the intent to research the Internet is to answer a specific question, especially if different topics are involved such as looking for the best home based businesses, then using search engines on the surface Web is usually sufficient. It's important to understand the difference between objective information and opinions although both can be helpful when conducting research to answer questions on a variety of topics. Government websites and informational sites where authors and editors are identified by their background and credentials tend to be the most trustworthy. Press releases are not suitable for most Internet research as they are written for promotional purposes. Understanding bias and the reason why certain information is posted is important.

One of the best tips for conducting ongoing Internet research is to keep favorite research sites in the Links toolbar by going to View then Toolbars then Links. When researching a variety of sources at once, many windows can be open rather than just having one Internet research source in one window. Any mistakes found during research should be reported to the website owner or editor so the information can be updated.

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Discussion Comments
By pleonasm — On Mar 22, 2014

@bythewell - It does depend. I would usually use the term "internet research" when talking about doing surveys or things like that. I know quite a few students who sent out surveys to people through the internet in order to do some original research of their own. I don't think it would be taken all that seriously in a scientific community, because it's obviously not a very objective way to get a sample of people.

But, on the other hand, it might be the only way for some researchers to find a wide variety of people with a particular characteristic that they are interested in. If you want to talk to people with dogs, asking a huge range of people online to fill in a survey is probably going to have less selection bias than, for example, going to a dog park.

By bythewell — On Mar 21, 2014

@irontoenail - Just bear in mind what kind of research we're talking about here. If it is a student looking for sources for an essay, they are much better off just finding respected journals that post online and using those. If they try finding an expert, they probably won't be able to quote them or anything, although that could give them some leads on where else to look.

By irontoenail — On Mar 20, 2014

Don't be afraid to contact the author of something if you need clarification. Try to find original authors though. A lot of information on the internet comes from other sources and has been rewritten to suit whatever need the website serves. It's always better to try and find the person who did the original research because they will know a lot more about whatever interests you. Alternatively, try talking to someone who is an expert on the subject for a popular website. They often have people who are basically there to act as front-men and will be happy to go into depth on their particular subject, even if they don't do original research themselves.

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