This is the "FAQ" page of the "Web Searching FAQ" guide.
Alternate Page for Screenreader Users
Skip to Page Navigation
Skip to Page Content

Web Searching FAQ  

Savvy techniques for web searching
Last Updated: Nov 1, 2012 URL: http://libguides.lib.msu.edu/web Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

FAQ Print Page
  Search: 
 
 

Table of Contents

1) Which search engine is the best?
2) I found some great information. I can do my whole paper from the Web!
3) I found a report I want to use. How do I cite it in my paper?
4) I'm getting too many results. How can I limit my search?
5) My instructor says to use scholarly, peer reviewed journals. Where do I find them?

1) Which search engine is the best?

There is no easy answer for this question.

  • If you want something specific like a person or organization try one of the more powerful search engines. Ask, Google or Bing are a good choice.  Sometimes Wikipedia is a better choice because it gives a list of sources at the end of most articles.
  • For a general topic search you're usually better off in one of the selective sites like the IPL 2, or Infomine . Even selective sites don't guarantee the reliability of their links, but they do weed out the least reliable and most duplicative.

 

2) I found some great information. I can do my whole paper from the Web!

Be careful!

  • Reread the assignment. Have you used library subscription sources?  Few instructors will take a paper done exclusively from free web resources.
  • Check the sponsors of the pages you will rely on. Are they reputable sources? You'd never hand in a research paper based solely on interviews with the people in your dorm, but most of them also have web pages. Whose authority are you relying on? Is the presentation balanced? Here's a link with more about evaluating web pages.
  • For reliable full text, information that doesn't require a trip to the Libraries: use our online subscriptions, the Proxy server makes it possible to access our resources from home. Find a complete listing on the E-Resources page. For journal articles, here are the most popular indexes to try:

    • The OmniFile Full Text database contains full text articles from most academic disciplines.

    • Academic OneFile has more article listings many reproduced in full.

    • ProQuest is another good product with lots of helps for the novice searcher.

    • LexisNexis Academic also offers full text for most of its content, which focuses on news and legal information.

    • Or, if you know the journal you need, the Library's catalog lists our electronic journal subscriptions by journal title.

3) I found a report I want to use. How do I cite it in my paper?

Generally speaking, just use the information from the Web Page as you would from a printed source.

  • If the author of the page is listed (usually at the bottom or on an "about" page), use that name where you would list the author.
  • The page title appears at the top of most browsers. For example, the title of this page is FAQ - Web Searching FAQ - Guides at Michigan State University Libraries.
  • Use the URL (web address) where you would put the place of publication and publisher of a printed source.

 

4) I'm getting too many results. How can I limit my search?

  • Make your search narrower. Your topic may be too broad. A search for teaching will return lots of hits in most search engines. Limit your topic by choosing an aspect to focus on. Type +teaching +mathematics (a + sign requires that the word be present on the pages found) or "student teaching" ("quotes" make the search a phrase search).
  • Search words unique to your topic. If you are expressing your search in common words you can get a lot of results that are not relevant. For example, if you are interested in "Ford Motor Company" search in that way, using "quotes" around the phrase and you'll get better results than you would with a search for Ford automobiles manufacturing.
  • If you can't think of unique words, try the search in iBoogie a search engine that groups results by concept.
  • Use a selective listing. Go to the IPL2 to do your search or work your way through the subject listings until you find a page with just a few good links for your topic.

 

5) My instructor says to use scholarly, peer reviewed journals. Where do I find them?

By using Library provided subscription indexes.

  • Use the Libraries' other indexes. Go to one of the Getting Started pages to select an appropriate index, or contact the Libraries online or by phone 517-432-6123 for assistance.
Description

Loading  Loading...

Tip