- Good places to start - Google is the most used search engine in the world. All you do is write what you are searching in the search bar and press enter. It also has the ability to search images, videos, apps, maps and much more. The number 2 top search engine is youtube however this will only show you videos so I would advise to stick with google for school research and use youtube when you are looking up your favourite band or how to pass the next level on a computer game.
- Use keywords - Select 2 or 3 words which you are wanting to research. For example if I asked you to research how smoking damages the lungs, you may only search the words ‘smoking’ and ‘lung’. The more words you use in your search the less focused your search is.
- Is the source of information trustworthy? - If I asked you to research obsidian (an igneous rock) I would not be impressed with your information coming from the minecraft wikipedia page or healing-crystals-for-you.com. These websites are not appropriate for secondary school scientific research. Although wikipedia may be an OK starting point for research, the context of minecraft (a computer game set in a virtual world) is definitely not a serious academic source to be trusted in the real world. Think about where the information is coming from - look at the website name and the context of the information.
- Check the information from at least 3 sites - By doing this you are verifying your information. This also gives you the opportunity to deepen your understanding because you are hopefully getting the same information in 3 different ways. The different use of words, images and communication will help you develop a more rounded and in depth understanding.
- Write down where you get the information from - This is a very important note. If you complete course work in your GCSEs you may be required to do this for higher level marks. At university it is a must. By recording where you get information from it makes it easier to help other people researching the same topic and your teacher make sure the information you are gathering is genuine. All academic papers and books are required to do this (reference list/ bibliography).
For more complex help about internet searches click here.