How to Find the Right Resources on the Internet
Got a research paper coming? Don’t bug your Mom or your friends or bust your eyeballs scanning tomes in a musty library. All you really have to do is to point and click...but do it the right way.
Imagine this typical scenario in the life of a young learner: from a busy day in campus, a high school student arrives home, flings his heavy bag on a chair and then while changing his clothes, hopefully asks his mom: "Ma, do you know who Thetis is? It’s for my English subject. I need to earn some bonus points to pass." Mother, in a state of shock, returns the question to her son, "What the…who?" Yes, mother knows best, but she doesn’t know everything.
To look at the bigger picture, our typical high school student’s problem isn’t really a matter of life and death. But if it’s a matter of passing or failing, his problem probably is. But, he has options. He could ask the same question he asked his mother of a college student. But can you honestly think of any college level student who can actually rattle off the vital stats of Thetis at the drop of a hat? Chances are, he’ll stare right through the curious high school kid, scratch his head, and echo the poor mom’s response: "What the…who?".
Then, there’s the long grueling hours scanning, skimming, or even reading tons and tons of books in the library just to come up with a decent answer to his school assignment. But the truth is, there is an easier way for high school boy to pull through—the Internet.
What is the Internet?
The Internet, sometimes called simply as the Net, is a product of technology—a network of networks—that allows people to gather information about almost everything present in the planet. It is the fastest way of getting in touch with practically, the world. You can compare it to a "mother brain," which when asked, can provide answers in a jiffy. Also, it is considered the fourth media, the other three being print, television and radio.
Tips for using the Internet
Although the Internet looks like an idiot-proof way of getting instant answers to your questions, it can also be overwhelming. Try searching for "Thetis" on Google, and you end up with 139,000 entries. Hey, how do you sort through all that?!? So you should consider ways to narrow your search to achieve the best results. When researching, better keep these tips in mind:
One: be precise
When researching, be sure you know what you are really looking for. Is your research subject broad or particular? For example, are you seeking information about birds, or is it just seagulls you’re concerned with? Being particular and precise about your topic is a vital part of conducting research using the Net. A very vital part.
Two: know where to begin the research
As stated earlier, the extent of the Internet is vast. So search engines are your friend. Search engines are massive databases in which the information in the Net are organized and documented. They serve as windows in which you can look out to view a broad field of facts. That means, your answers lie in these search engines. Not only do they present you a myriad of information, they also provide information fast.
There are a lot of search engines that could help you meet the requirements of your research. And it is up to you to take advantage of the spree. Yahoo and Google are some of the most popular search engines. You could also use Yehey for searching the Net locally. Or if you’re in the Google homepage, you can try clicking on Google
Three: ensure your entries are correct
When using search engines, avoid inconsistencies for they could mar the results of your search. Misspelling words is a common mistake as they obviously will give you mismatched results and can land you in places no farther than the middle of nowhere.
Sun and son are way different, miles apart in meaning, although a lone vowel separates the two words. Just like stationary and stationery, compliment and complement, microcosm and macrocosm, and so on and so forth.
Another no-no is adding unnecessary punctuation marks in your entries. A question mark, for example, can result in a message reading, "No matches found."
An exception to this rule is the use of quotation marks. When what you are looking for is longer than one word, it is advisable to enclose them in quotation marks (e.g. "flight of seagulls"). The use of a plus sign (+) and a minus sign (-) can also lessen the burden of going through hundreds and thousands of matches that the search engine can provide. Putting a plus sign before a word tells the search engine to retrieve only pages that include that word. On the other hand, search engines will disregard the subject you’re looking for if a minus sign were placed before it. Do not set a space between the signs and the search words (i.e. +seagulls not + seagulls).
Four: avoid articles before you write your article
Search engines are designed to give you all the matches that are related to the search words you enter. And for you to delve in all these matches would consume much of your time. Visualize yourself going through all 10,000 matches when all you need is a simple summary of a certain event. To avoid this, use only important keywords in your search. Do not use words like a, the, of, it, and the like. If you paid attention to your grammar lessons, they’re usually articles (a, an, the) or prepositions (of, to, with, from, etc.). They are so commonplace that they overload the search engines, and overload your burden of researching as well.
Five: evaluate the results
When the matches or results of your search pop up, read, reflect and review them before using them as materials for your research. Examine the facts that you have gathered. Ask yourself: "Is this really the information I need?" "Are all these relevant to my research?" "Do these answer my queries?" If your answer to these questions is yes, then you can say that what you found in the Net is the "real thing."
You could still take a peek at other sources, or search engines, if you want to further assure yourself that you’ve got the right thing. Try searching for the same search words in another search engine. Hey! Switching from one search engine to another is your right! But beware, you may also be unnecessarily wasting your time, meandering aimlessly through cyberspace.
Six: respect your sources
So, after all that researching, it now comes down to actually doing your paper. This is the toxic part for most students. This is where you bust your brains out to construct a meaningful sentences, or paragraphs that hopefully, make sense as a whole, based on what you have gotten from the Net.
When you do your paper and you reach the final stage, don’t forget your sources. Your teachers would want to know the basis of your, er, brilliance. It is also right or ethical to do so, not to mention a requirement, especially if you’re doing a formal term paper that obliges you to cite your sources in footnotes or an end page listing your research materials.
But be careful. Your sources could also undo you if you resort to the very ubiquitous strategy of "copy-paste." That means, well, you know what that means. In more severe terms, it’s called plagiarism. Believe me, when you get caught using somebody else’s words or ideas as your own, even the Internet can’t save you.
Uncomplicate your life
I guess that should get you on your way. So when research papers come your way, save yourself from being a nosy person to somebody, asking questions about a topic your "source" may not be familiar with. Or save yourself from the hard task of going to the library just to encounter books containing brittle pages already yellowed by time, with information that’s probably already way out of date. Instead, consult the Internet. It’s one way of making life a little less complicated for the harassed student.