Become a Savvy Web Researcher

After a student asked me to unblock web pages for her research of Pre-WWII Nazi Germany, I realized how much we need to teach our students how to tell if a web site is valid or not.  The top two full pages of google results on her topic were only illegitimate sites made to warp her point of view about Nazi’s.  Here are some very useful, and fun sites I’ve found – with hand outs – to help our students to get useful and valid information from the web.

Web Site Evaluation
Before you even start searching for data, you need to understand some web site name basics…

Truncate parts of a long URL to see if it works by itself.  May show the organization that is hosting the site.

Try this:

Be familiar with ‘root extensions’
.com  .edu .org .gov .net .mil commercial cite to buy essays commercial site in Great Britian – British Broadcasting Company Michigan University Cambridge University wikipedia is an organizaiton Government Agency MSN is an internet service network – .net military site
to see what 2 character abbreviation you need for your country :

Choose the right Search Engine and know how to use it!

Don’t just go to Google and click on the top link – may be a ‘sponsored’ link – deep pockets go to the top.  Not necessarily the best link.  The search engine will be paid for each time the link is clicked, so the search engine puts them at the top.

Optional search engines:
NoodleTools Http://
NoodleQuest Http://
Ivy’s Search Engine Resource

What is your favorite search engine and why? Site suggested by audience at NETA site suggested at NETA 201o Raise money for your school for every search site suggested by TIE in Colorado 2011 elementary level search built off of wolframalpha ideas – TIE 2011 visual search engine – TIE 2011

Be specific when searching

The search tool below will help be as specific as possible. wizard to help with searching

(note – you can see what sites link to another site by using the link operator field)

Have students use the same search phrase on several

different search engines…  Compare and contrast the results.

I found a site that looks good, now what?

down loadable ppt contained here:

Search, Evaluate, Citation tools use the ‘evaluate’ link on the left side

While we are here, I used the Citation Wizard to build a MLA style citation for a book I am using as a resource for this session.  Pretty Cool!
November, Alan. Web Literacy for Educators. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, 2008. Additional citation wizard suggested by a NETA attendee 2010 Fast & Easy Bibliography Maker added May, 2011 Bibliography and citation builder Suggested by NETA 2011 attendee for scientific citations Calvin College Citation Resource Will grab information from another page open and populate fields for you

Having problems finding the author of the site? – looks like a good resource at first

Try to find the author? – links on bottom mention  Find a name of person behind or

(Copy one of the sites above, Note: don’t include the http: or the www)

Both mention Don Black

Use the search engine of you choice to research ISP backgrounds if you aren’t familiar with them.
  • What groups are Don Black associated with?
  • Should we use this site as an impartial resource?

My students didn’t know “Berkeley” is a valid host.

also to note on above link  – .lib is a library
pubweb in the beginning is a public web server – personal postings
~, %, and words users, people, or members appearing anywhere in the address – are also personal posting indicators

Good use of the school filter!

Some sites are blocked at school, but are available at home. This link will help find the site’s filter categorization from home or when a site is allowed at school:

Have some fun with obvious Hoaxes!

Full Lesson Plans

All About Explorers – Elementary level From TIE 2011

Hoax Lesson Plans

Site Evaluation Lesson Plan

Another collection of information if you still want more to do!

5 thoughts on “Become a Savvy Web Researcher”

  1. Boolean operator lessons

    From about page:
    This interactive model presents Boolean logic as a puzzle of interconnected search term and operator pieces. While fitting these pieces together, Boolify provides real-time feedback to the learner about the efficacy of their search


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