Finding the right information could be the most crucial part of writing an excellent paper. Though doing an online search might appear like one of the easiest tasks, finding the relevant result might not be that simple.
It is particularly challenging for students to dredge up academic resources as many of the published papers and academic journals are hidden in the archives of the deep or invisible web.
Unfortunately, most of these resources often do not show up in traditional search engines that easily.
Fortunately, the web also allows a few tricks to find great sources for all the information one may need. In this article, let us guide you through the best practices to help you crack the art of researching.
Guide for Students: How to Find the Needed Information Faster
Know Your Search Engines
Internet browsers and search engines can open up a world of information at the tap of one’s fingers. However, each search engine can deliver a distinct set of results based on specific criteria. What you find in Google might not be the options appearing in Bing.
To find the best result, you might have to switch between different web directories. Try specific academic search engines such as Google Scholar or Microsoft Academic to limit the results to academic papers.
The Right Keywords
The key to finding the most relevant answers for your quest lies in the keywords you enter. The keywords are what search engines use as references to choose the results. Instead of entering the whole phrases, you might want to be specified using only the required word.
At the same time, using generic keywords will also get you repetitive results. You might want to split the main topic into categories or subtopics and enter keywords accordingly.
For instance, if you are writing a process analysis essay on photosynthesis, you can enter “stages of photosynthesis” or “benefits of photosynthesis” to get more specific answers much faster. Using nouns rather than complete phrases works in your favor.
There are additional tools such as the use of Boolean language that can get you precise results. These include operators such as “AND,” “OR” and “NOT” to filter out the outcomes more relevant to your topic.
Various search engines work well with a different set of Boolean operators to refine results. Google allows users to include some basic symbols and words to refine web results.
Be Time Specific
This is a beneficial tip for students to find the exact academic paper or a journal you are looking for. If you are seeking an article or a study conducted in a specific year, you can narrow down results by choosing a particular year or date.
One can include the year in the keywords. However, that might not always get you what you are looking for. The best way is to check the “Tools” option and choose the time range necessary. This way, you can avoid browsing old studies that do not cater to the latest advances in the field.
Use Citation Backwards
Another thing to keep in mind while finding any relevant paper is not to ignore the citations. The references listed in any article might be a valuable source of information for the assignment you prepare. Most academic papers shown in academic databases such as Google Scholar provides clickable citation information.
It is a useful way to identify resources that apply to your particular topic. Cited references can help one find new sources and understand different approaches others have on the same subject.
Search in Incognito
Most browsers keep track of your previous searches and opened links. If repeated, then every time, the links you have opened will influence your results and will keep appearing as the top options.
It works well if you are doing general browsing or want to find a link you already opened. However, when it comes to uncovering new academic content, then going Incognito will do the trick for you.
None of your search histories will be saved in there, and you will get accurate results that apply solely to the current one.
Look Past the First Page
The search results are not only influenced by its relation to keywords, or the quality of the content.
If you aim at finding credible sources, then it is recommended to look past the first few results pages. While it might contain valuable information, it is essential not to ignore the rest of the findings.
Explore as many pages as you can and decide for yourself which resource if more crucial to your subject. You might have to look at the third or tenth page, but it is you determine what is the right source, not the search engine.
Go Old School
This bonus tip is only a reminder that you might find incredible resources for your paper of the internet as well. While academic pages and databases can help one tremendously, the library might also provide lots of useful information. If the online databases fail, then why not give the paperbacks a good try?
Finally, remember that patience is a virtue, especially when it comes to research. You might be one keyword away from hitting the best source.
So if you do not get what you hope for in the first try, change the tactics, switch your database and start from the beginning. It might take a little creativity, but the internet is sure to have answers.