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Researching for your coursework: Finding information on the Internet

Researching for your coursework

Finding information on the Internet

Using the Internet for Research.
You will need to spend a lot of time thinking critically about the results you find on the Internet if you want to use the information found for your academic work. Anyone can publish anything on the web. There are quite a few "hoax" or "fake" sites. Always make sure you check "About Us" page or authorship or an organisation's credentials. See Web Sources for more tips on evaluating the reliability of sources which you find on the internet. 

Effective and targeted searching on the Internet.

Consider your assignment or research question. What kind of information are you looking for?
Your research requirement could include such information and most of this information can be found via a Library Catalogue search:
  • a dictionary definition
  • academic journal articles
  • Company accounts/financials
  • market research
  • newspaper articles
  • books
  • a film or documentary
  • photographs
  • statistics
What kind of website is the information on?
Further to the above you may need to look at the research produced by:
  • government(s)
  • organisations whether non-profit, profit, specialised or commissioned 
  • professional organisations; eg. medical, health, business, law, IT, Sport and so on.
  • companies
  • businesses such as Estate Agents, Consultancies, Market Research agencies
The reason for finding such research as opposed to that listed above is that it can offer different perspectives or points of view on a topic and shows you have read widely. Always helpful in getting better marks.
Academic and Governments websites are usually reliable. Always bear in mind though that some organisations such as companies or business sites may be biased.
By looking at the domain or site name you can figure out what kind of organisation the website belongs to.


Type of Domain name or Site

Site address part of URL

UK Academic
USA Academic .edu
UK Government
USA Government .gov
UK  Organisation
USA Organization .org
UK Business or Company
USA Business or Company .com
Europe Most entities .edu

Effective Searching using Google Advance Search

Tips on finding reports and research from government offices, professional and public organisations and more on Google.  Search for information on "diversity in higher education". Use domain name to limit your search to the website domain selected.
Google advanced search

Open Access material

There has been a growing movement in recent years to make scholarly content available as Open Access (OA), meaning freely available online for all to read. This can be done by putting content into institutional repositories as PDF documents, or by publishing in journals or books which are published on a fully Open Access basis.
CORE is the biggest database for searching across Open Access repositories to find this freely available academic content. Click on the title to see full details of which institutional repository it has come from. If something has been published in a university or research body's repository then the author is an academic or researcher from that institution.
It is important to remember that not all publishers support Open Access; in fact, many don't, and will not allow authors publishing with them to make their work freely available. Therefore, CORE and other open internet resources should only be used in conjunction with the library databases. The Library pays for subscriptions to allow you to access content which sits behind paywalls.