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SCI 105 Stave: Google/web searching

This guide supports your annotated bibliography project - mitigating climate change

Domain searches using the Google search engine

“Free-range” Web sources

  1. Universities/colleges [.edu], the U.S. Government [.gov], and some non-profit agencies [.org] often have great science information. Caveat: The current U.S. political climate is more polarized than ever regarding climate change. For .gov sources keep in mind that recent restrictions have been placed on some agencies for conducting research, and developing and sharing new climate change information. In addition, some .org agencies are more likely to contain highly biased information. Watch out for dramatic, charged language, and claims without clear citation to where their information comes from.
  2. Search Google for specific ‘domains’ like this: your search term site:.edu, site:.gov, or site:.org

  1. In addition, you can also search for information from other countries more easily by doing a country domain search, such as site:.uk. Keep in mind that your instructor will need to be able to read in the language of any document you find. Don’t know a country code? Google internet country domains
Google Web Search

Find web sites by asking, "Who cares about this topic?"

Locating the useful resources online

Ask yourself, "who cares about this topic?" By thinking about this question, you may be able to conduct Google searches to locate organizational websites with relevant information.

You can often find large organizations (think tanks, nonprofit agencies, support groups) by doing a search like this in Google, Bing or other search engines:  

Example:

(click on image to enlarge)

sample Google search for an organization

This will usually result in links for several of the largest organizations that focus on your topic.

Try it!
Google Web Search

Searching Google effectively


Source: "Searching Google Effectively" by Joshua Vossler, UWF Libraries, Educational use.

Evaluating sources

Things to consider when evaluating sources<a href="https://www.flaticon.com/free-icons/red-flag" title="red-flag icons">Red-flag icons created by Freepik - Flaticon</a>

Be on the alert for red flags if ...
  • there are no authors, creators, publishers, or organizations listed
  • there is no way to contact anyone
  • there is no mission statement, goal, or background info
  • there are no dates or copyright
  • there are broken links or images (for online sources)
  • major spelling and grammar errors
  • the title doesn't seem to match the content (especially for online media or websites)
  • there are bad production values (static, no sound, shaky camera work, etc.). Professional videos in particular should look professional. If you see a video that looks unprofessional, then it was probably uploaded illegally!

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