An important step to take before beginning research is to determine what information formats are more likely have the information you need.
Consider the Information Publication Timeline* and decide what form of information you need to target in your research.
See also Part I of the tutorial Introduction to Information Literacy & Finding Information Using the Library.
* Source: Ishii, Akiko. "Information Cycle Timeline." Northwest Missouri State University. 2002. Web. Oct. 30, 2015.
If you need to find information in a particular format, here are some links to start out with.
While Google is by far the most popular search engine, there are many other good ones out there. As stated by regents of the University of California Berkely Library,
"Not everything on the Web is fully searchable in Google. Overlap studies show that more than 80% of the pages in a major search engine's database exist only in that database. For this reason, getting a "second opinion" can be worth your time. For this purpose, we recommend Yahoo! Search or Exalead. We do not recommend using meta-search engines as your primary search tool." (2012)*
* Source: "Recommended Search Engines." 2012. Regents of the University of California. UC Berkeley Library. Web. 10 Oct. 2015.
To use information ethically, your work must be free of plagiarism.
To plagiarize is to use someone else's idea, creation or information without giving proper credit to the person or the group that originated the idea, creation or information. By giving full credit to anyone whose work you have incorporated into your work, you are using information ethically. This is especially important now that you're in the college environment.
More information on plagiarism:
Before you search for your topic, think of some additional terms that mean the same, or close to the same, as your main search term.
For instance, if someone were interested in finding information about assisted suicide, they could also use a synonym (a word that means exactly the same as the main word), which in this case could be euthanasia. As a related term, they could search for mercy killing, or Dr. Kevorkian, a medical doctor who advocated assisted suicide and helped make the topic famous.
Here is an illustration of how much information you can get by searching for one, two or three terms related to your topic:
Since it is important to use reliable information in completing your college assignments, you need to evaluate the information sources you come across.
The important points to consider in scrutinizing information sources are:
Keep in mind that not every source of information on the Internet is reliable. Anyone who figures out how to do it can post anything they want online. The webmaster might be a scholar or someone who just wants to rant about something.
You can get a clue about websites by the extension on their URL:
More information on evaluating information:
* Source: Mohanty, Suchi, Lisa Norberg, Kim Vassiliadis, and Tammi Owens. "Evaluate Your Sources." Evaluating Information. Univ. of North Carolina, n.d. Web. 22 Oct. 2015.