February 25, 2024

The internet is the world’s biggest library with billions of pages of information.  If you don’t know the exact address of the website you need then finding the information you require can be quite a challenge.  This page will hopefully give you a few pointers to help you with searching the internet and a few considerations for checking the information you have found.

Search Engines
There are lot of search engines for you to choose from and they work in different ways, try a few engines to find the web address you are looking for.
Search engines usually have advanced search options which allow you to refine your search. Most of these allow you to use logical operators such as ‘and’, ‘not’, ‘or’, ‘includes’, ‘greater than’ and ‘less than’ to narrow down what you are looking for. Click the advanced search link on the search engine webpage and experiment with the different options. There are some search engines below to get you started.

Trusted Starting Points
Search engines can often give you thousands of results and many of them don’t have the information you need.  This is the time to use a trusted starting point where you can then follow the links to hopefully find what you are looking for.  Good examples will be; news providers such as TV stations or newspapers, government sites, magazines, university websites, charities, governing bodies, unions and businesses.

Information Quality
It is very easy to publish a web site and sometimes the information you have found may not be as useful as it appears.  Use this 8 point check list to help you decide if the information is what you need:

  1. Is it clear who has written the information?
  2. Are the aims of the site clear?
  3. Does the site achieve its aims?
  4. Is the site relevant to me?
  5. Can the information be checked?
  6. When was the site produced?
  7. Is the information biased in any way?
  8. Does the site tell you about choices open to you?
    List from: http://www.quick.org.uk/

Referencing
When you use information (text, pictures, diagrams, charts) you found on the web you should always reference the sources so your readers know who produced the original work and can verify your information.  You will need to include the author, organisation, web address and date accessed.