Conducting Research on the Internet
Internet Research at Arizona State University

No doubt, trying to find information on the internet can be a daunting task and when doing research in cyberspace it is important to know how to search and also how to qualify a source or the information you find there. It is important to remember that in today's day and age, virtually anyone can put information on the internet and we need to base our research throughout this project on viable sources.

How to Search

Because there is so much information available today, it is important to find out the best research strategy for your needs. Most of us automatically go to Google or Yahoo and get thousands of results, we choose the first few and leave the rest behind. There are multiple tools available today on the internet to help us to narrow our research. To refine our strategy, we will use NoodleTools. Go to this site and fill out the questionnaire to get you started in the right direction.

=Once you have a strategy, begin searching your topic area. There are numerous different ways to search your topic. Visit the A+ Toolkit [1] at the Internet Public Library's Teenspace for descriptions of Boolean, phrasing, and wild card searching. For those of us, it is still difficult to sort and read through so many available sources. For those of us who are more visual learners or auditory learners, you may want to visit the following sites to help organize your search results:
  • Clusty(clustered search with vocabulary and category supports)
  • Grokker (offers both map and cluster results)
  • Kartoo (visual search shows relationships)
  • Quintura (tag clouds suggest keywords and categories)
  • Soople (busts out Google's features)
  • Jux2 (compare Google, Yahoo, and MSN with One Search)
  • Natural Reader - free text-to-speech software program which converts any written text to speech (Word, pdf, websites, emails)
  • Click,Speak - a free Firefox extension that reads the Internet and highlights phrases and sentences as it reads
  • Talklets - make any website talk, embed in your website, blog or wiki
  • iSpeech - converts web pages to audio.

Qualify Your Sources

It is important to decide if the research you are finding is relevant to your topic and that it is of an academic nature. In order to do so, you should ask the following questions of your source.
  • What is the publication date?
  • Who is the author?
  • What is the name of the Journal, Book, Blog or website?
  • Who is the author's intended audience?
  • What is the author's background (are they a specialist in your topic area)?

If your source can not answer these questions, it is likely unreliable and you should move on to one that can answer the above questions.

Social Bookmarking and Organizing Your Online Sources

Especially since this project is highly collaborative, it is important to remember that we can all benefit from each other when we share our resources. In addition to supplemental readings, you will be conducting extensive research on the internet to gather, synthesize and evaluate information to use in creating your digital artifacts. To do so, we will use social bookmarking tools. We will use the flat classroom group on Diigo and/or Delicious in order to share the bookmarks for this project.

Social Bookmarking in Plain English , by Common Craft

Joining the Diigo Group

(Taken from Flat Classroom page) [2]

Requesting to Join

  • Go to this Spreadsheet in Google Docs and fill in your name and information accordingly. All student accounts will be created under the teacher's account so that you do not have a full profile. This provides an added layer of safety and privacy from those outside of the project.
  • Go to the link for the Diigo Group for your project:
  • If you are using Mozilla Firefox as your web browser, install the Diigo Toolbar
  • If you do not use Mozilla Firefox or do not wish to use the toolbar, you may install the Digolet for Firefox, Internet Explorer or Safari.

Bookmarking to the Group

After you install the diigo toolbar, right click on a page and say "bookmark this page to Diigo." Make sure you share it to our group. When you do, our standard tags for the project will come up. Use all tags that apply (you can send them to other groups). Make sure that you describe or summarize the page at the top. These are viewable to others on diigo. The notes on the bottom are specifically how this site relates to the flat classroom project and your thoughts. Click "save."

Sample Bookmarking in Diigo

Cite Your Sources

//(Taken from Flat Classroom Page)[3]

We use MLA Citations for Wikis. These are the instructions for how to paste references into our wiki projects. Wikispaces also has a reference guide on the ref tag. It is important to cite your sources when you quote or paraphrase. If it is an online source, you MUST include a hyperlink.
  1. Go to Son of Citation Machine to Generate the MLA Citation
  2. Return to your wiki page.
  3. Insert your blinker just after the quotation or paraphrase that needs a citation.
  4. Type a bracket and ref and ending bracket (see below)
  5. Paste the reference into the wiki.
  6. Type the page number and a period after it if it is a book.
  7. Close the reference tag by typing a bracket forward slash (/) ref and an ending bracket (see the image above.)
  8. If it is a website, turn the hyperlink into a "true" hyperlink as shown in the graphic by copying the hyperlink, clicking the link button, and pasting the hyperlink into the external link box.
  9. If this is the first reference on this page, go to the bottom of the page and type the word "References." DO NOT PUT A LINE UNDERNEATH IT!
  10. Click "Save"
  11. A new reference must only be listed in full length THE FIRST time it is used. From then on use the author's last name and the page number, or in the case of an online article, the Article Name (which MUST be hyperlinked.)

Now, the graphic will look like this:



  1. ^ =
    Schwartz, Kathryn. "A+ Research & Writing." Teenspace. 2008. International Public Library For Teens. 10 Jul 2009 .
  2. ^ Davis, Vicki. "Bookmarking To the Group." Flat Classroom Project. 2006. Flat Classroom Project. 10 Jul 2009 .
  3. ^
    Davis, Vicki. "Diigo Group Instructions."
    Flat Classroom Project//. 2006. Flat Classroom Project. 10 Jul 2009 .