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Finding and Evaluating Information: Internet Searching

How to find and evaluate information for your classes and your life.

About this page

Tips on searching the internet.

Need help?

If you're not sure what you need, or how to begin, come in to RTC Library, call us at (425) 235-2331, or email us at librarian@RTC.edu. We'll be glad to help.

Web Search tips

There is a lot of good free information on the internet - and much out-of-date, biased, or simply wrong information, too. 

To limit your internet searches to better quality material, try these techniques:

Consider limiting your search to non-commercial sites. If you limit your search to education, government or organization domains, you will avoid business sites, which are often written to convince you to buy a product. While they may offer valuable information, they may also leave out data that might discourage purchase of their product.  Use the “advanced search” option in Google, Bing, Yahoo!, and limit your search to  .edu, .org, or .gov sites.

Be specific. Type in “elementary education” rather than education, for example, if you’re interested in kindergarten through fifth grade education.

Use phrase searching. Did you notice that “Elementary education” above was inside double quote marks?  The quotation marks tell almost all search engines, whether searching journal databases or web sites, to look for those words next to each other, in that order.  That will eliminate documents where both words occur, but not together. It will give you much better search results.

Try more than one search engine.  You will get different results for the same searches at Yahoo!, Bing, and Google.  Sample more than one search engine’s results to make sure you’ve gotten the most useful resources.  Not sure where to find the best search engines?  Try InfoPeople’s Best Search Tools Page at https://infopeople.org/content/best-search-tools-chart.

Evaluate the information you find. Remember, books, journals and newspapers have editors and fact  checkers, but anyone can put up a website. Use the techniques discussed in the next module, Evaluating Information, to decide if your information is creditable.