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Using the Internet for Research
This guide provides on overview on using the Internet for research, including recommended search engines, specialized search tools, and how to get the most out of Google Scholar. Also covered is information on formulating effective searches, how to evaluate sources, and how to look out for fake news & information.
Benefits to Using Internet Sources for Research
You can find very up to date information on, especially on current events.
The Web is enormous and is growing by the second.
You can search the Internet from any location at any time on any device.
- Easy to use
You can easily search the web using many different search engines.
Information is provided in many different formats available for different learning styles.
Aside from what you might have to pay for access to the Internet, a great deal of what you might find in your Internet research can be accessed without subscription fees.
You can use the Internet to share information with other users across the globe.
Limitations of the Internet
Because there is so much information on the Internet it can be difficult to wade through the trivial to get to the scholarly content.
Content is always in flux, being changed, updated, archived, deleted (* for archives, see the Wayback Machine).
Because it can be difficult to determine the content owner, author, or sources of some information it is often difficult to trust what you find on the Internet.
- Missed information
Most people do not click past the first page of their search results even though there may be thousands or even millions of results. In 2011, 75% did not go past page one according to Search Engine Journal.
- Surface Web Only
Not only do most search engines miss "deep web" databases (content not indexed by a search engine because it exists within a structure requiring separate searches) but there is a lot on the web that can only be accessed by a subscription (example: library databases) or pay-per-article fee.