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Using OneSearch, eBooks & More

Searching the Internet

Searching the Internet

There are lots of good reasons to search the internet for information, but you have to be careful! Not all information is good information. A lot of the information on the internet is just wrong!

So, what are the advantages (the good things) and the disadvantages (the bad things) about searching the internet for information? Watch our video to find out!

Official and Government Websites

     Government & Official Websites    

Government and official organisation websites are usually easy to find, and generally have reliable information. Using sites from the New Zealand government or an official New Zealand organisation are much more likely to be considered good quality academic resources by your tutors when you submit your assignments.


  Government websites

Government sites are often put up by government departments, and information from them is considered more reliable and more appropriate to use in an academic assignment than other websites. A government website will usually end in a URL suffix, or 'domain' that's obvious and easy to recognise:

  • New Zealand:   .govt.nz
  • Australia:   .govt.au
  • UK:   .gov.uk
  • USA:   .gov
  • Canada:   .gc.ca

Many governments offer a list of all of their official websites, like the New Zealand one below.


  Official Websites

Many websites may not be from a government department, but they are official and reliable all the same. It's often hard to know which websites are official and which aren't, but you'll learn to start identifying good websites from bad as you use the internet and think critically about what you find. Most official organisations will have domains like .org, .org.nz, .org.au, or something similar. But how can you tell if an organisation is official?

  • What kind of organisation is it? Use Google to see if they are the official organisation of that kind for a country. Good examples would be the New Zealand Red Cross, or the New Zealand Teacher's Council.
  • But there are a whole bunch that look the same! Look at the websites more carefully. Read the 'About Us' page, and consider the information they are giving you. What is their goal in giving it to you? Why does the organisation exist? Are the offering a service, or saying they can fix a problem?
  • Is the website biased? If their website only presents one side of an issue, they are a partisan, or biased organisation, that only tells you part of the story. Looking at biased websites can be useful, but their information might not be as reliable. Look for websites that tell the other side of the story as well!

   Some URL Hints

  • Sites that end in .edu, .ac.nz, .ac.edu.au, or .ac.uk are websites from educational organisations - like a university, or another tertiary institution. Wintec's website is wintec.ac.nz, for instance. In general, a university or tertiary website is going to be considered fairly reliable.
  • Sites that end in .com are usually websites for businesses - they're making money somehow. New Zealand websites often have the ending .co.nz, or Australian ones, .com.au. These are businesses too! Businesses exist to make money, so you need to be careful when using their websites. Check that the business is legitimate, and that the information you are seeing is accurate before you use it. Consider if they have a reason to give you information that only tells part of a story. Use The CRAAP test!
  • Sites that end in .net can be hard to figure out. Sometimes they are business or organisations, sometimes they're personal websites or something else. Look carefully to decide if they are legitimate and good quality, and use The CRAAP Test to determine if you should use it for an assignment.

YouTube

  YouTube

YouTube is an awesome resource,but there's so much on YouTube that it's often really overwhelming, and it can be hard to know where to start, or how to find the good stuff.

Here are a few tips to start you off!

1. Create a YouTube account

If you don't already have one, you can get a free YouTube account. It's a quick process, and it means you can subscribe to videos, 'like' videos, mark videos to watch later, and make playlists of your favourites.

2. Use Advanced Search

Advanced Search has a LOT of options that can be really useful in finding the videos you really want to watch.

3. Change your settings to be from the country you want to see the most videos from

If you want to see New Zealand content, change the settings to say 'New Zealand', and you'll see a lot more Kiwis in your search results.

4. Look for names you know, and see how many people have subscribed to an account

If a university or a big organisation is the one putting the video on YouTube, it's more likely to be genuine, trustworthy information. If you've never heard of someone on YouTube, hit up Google, search their username, and see who they are.

5. Google for 'Top 10' or 'Best' lists - and then click the 'Videos' tab in Google!

The internet is filled to the brim with people listing the best and worst of things - and it can totally help you out. Looking for lists f other people's favourites in Google will get you heaps of results, and is a great place to start. Then you can either just sift through the results there, or go straight to YouTube videos talking about the same thing by clicking the 'Videos' tab right in Google!

6. Follow the trail of videos you like

If you find something you're really into, check out that account, and see what other videos they have. See if they've collaborated with anyone, or if the Related Videos has useful stuff you might want to look at. Look at what they've called their videos, and try searching words they've used in their video titles to find similar videos from other people.

 

Remember, the internet is only as smart as the search terms and keywords you put into it, so think of as many different words as you can for what you want to find, and keep trying!

Blogs, Apps & Social Media

   Blogs & Apps & Social Media

Whatever you're interested in, there's someone who blogs about it - and there's probably a smartphone app to help you do it. There are experts and amateurs blogging about every aspect of everything, and apps upon apps upon apps for hair, make-up, style, and more. Finding what you like is something only you can do, but here are a few tips on how to search for them:

  • Search for blogger lists and recommended apps

Just like for YouTube channels, there are plenty of lists of great bloggers and great useful apps for you to check our online. Google for these and see where you get!

  • Don't be afraid of social media!

Browse through social media - especially Twitter, YouTube, and Tumblr - to find people with the same interests or in the same situation as you, and then check out their websites, or their other social media. One of the best things about our interconnected world is the amount of useful information our constant internet activity produces, and whatever you're trying to learn about, you can bet that there that others are keen to share their knowledge. Be careful about what you put online yourself, and go exploring.

  • Be critical of what you find online.

Not everything on the internet it true, and you have to be your own fact-checker. Make sure several reliable sources are saying the same thing before you believe information you didn't find in a published book or a peer-reviewed journal article, and learn how to find good sources and how to discount bad ones quickly. It can be overwhelming at first, but it will become second nature soon!


There are plenty more resources out there - so get looking!

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