Internet research is used by many to gather information on and study a particular subject using resources published on the Internet. The websites and sources you use for your Internet research should be written by professionals, experts, organizations, businesses, and other entities that are knowledgeable about that specific topic. Because the Internet is a public platform accessible to all, the information you can sometimes find may not be entirely factual, but instead be formed by opinions and speculation; making the information you gather for your research void and inaccurate. To find information that is wholly factual and accurate on the topic you are researching, you must know how to determine the credibility of the sources providing the information.
Use major search engines such as Google, Bing, or Yahoo to perform your research; as these tools will provide you with access to nearly all published websites made available to the public. These search engines will also display and rank websites for you according to topic relevancy based on the keywords you entered into the search engine.
Use keywords relevant to the topic you are researching. To find credible and relevant information about your topic on the Internet, you must use a combination of keywords related to your research.
Use specific keyword phrases to locate the most relevant information. For example, if you are looking for information on how to perform an oil change on a 2006 Honda Accord, enter specific keywords such as "oil change instructions 2006 Honda Accord" instead of a basic phrase such as "perform an oil change," which may bring back thousands of results for websites that feature oil changes on motorcycles, buses, boats, and all other automobiles.
Use alternate words or keyword phrases to locate additional research sources. For example, if you are performing research on foreign movies, use the words "films" or "shows" in place of movies to find additional sources that may provide you with more information on your research topic.
Review several pages of search results for valid information. In most cases, search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo will rank search results based on specific algorithms, such as website popularity
Look beyond the first page of search results to find information for your research. In some cases, you may be able to find websites with helpful information beyond the first five pages of search results.
Determine that the website is a credible and reliable source. If you are gathering facts for your research, you will want to verify that the information is being provided by professionals or certified experts in that particular field or subject.
Read the "About Us" section of a website to learn more about the authors or organization publishing the information. Review the extension of the website in the address bar to determine the source. If the website ends in ".edu," ".gov," or ".org," the information on the website is overseen by a school, government entity, or non-profit organization, respectively, and in most cases, is accurate.
Use current information for your Internet research. Some information is time-sensitive, and the sources you may find and use may be outdated or inaccurate. For example, if you are performing research on popular computer software, use information from an article published within the last few weeks or months, instead of an article published from several years ago.
Review each website for grammatical errors and broken links. If the website is credible and reliable, grammar and spelling should be accurate and all links should take you to the appropriate landing page. Websites with numerous grammatical errors and broken links may be copying their information from another source or may not be legitimate.7 Cite or list all the Internet sources used in your research. This process is helpful if you need to revisit a website to include more information in your research, or if you need to provide your audience or employer with a list of sources used to compile your information. Copy or document the exact website link you used to access and provide information for your Internet research.