The Internet harbors a wealth of information just ripe for the picking and ready to be delivered to your printer or hard-drive. It is challenging to seek information on the Web, as well as rewarding when your search is successful.
Searching is NOT surfing. Surfing the Internet is going aimlessly from one URL to another. It can be fun and you can obtain information this way. However, it takes time and you may miss the more pertinent sites. There are resources online that are not available anywhere else.
When doing an online search, ask yourself what you are looking for. Keywords such as “medical professional organizations” are just a starting point. Do you want to find specialized organizations? If so, then you should use more descriptive terms such as “neurosurgical professional organizations”. And, if you want to define your search further, add the name of a state or country: “american neurosurgical professional organizations” or “texas neurosurgical professional organizations”
Each search has two parts. The subject and the angle. The angle is the aspect of the subject you really want to know about. The search may be framed “American medical association” but the angle would be added with the word “standards”. If you search on the subject alone (unless the topic is rare or unusual) you may be overwhelmed with irrelevant information.
When you search, use descriptive terms. Search engines are very literal. For instance, if you put in the term “apple” you will get sites referencing the fruit as well as the computer company. If the meaning of your search term is ambiguous or can possibly be misconstrued, you will need to qualify your search query.
Hazards Along the Way
One of the biggest time wasters in net-searching is starting off on the wrong track. You can spend hours going down dead ends. Often the problem starts at the beginning when the searcher makes a wrong assumption about how, where, and whether to proceed. Before you go online try thinking to yourself, “If I found the ideal article/site, what would it be?” Use this as your guide to framing your search query. By doing this exercise before your search, you are capturing the most important concepts and clarifying your goal.
There is no such thing as a comprehensive online search engine. No single search tool works throughout the universe of the Internet. Just as no one approach is best. Sometimes it takes a combination of differing approaches and search tools to obtain the information you are seeking. Try using more than one search query on a variety of search tools.
Remember, just because one technique worked in the last search does not mean it will work now. The Internet is in constant flux with new sites added and older ones discontinued daily. Just as new roadways are built and old ones renovated, the information highway is constantly changing.