The Web has a wealth of information from academic, public, commercial and personal sites. However it is important to remember that anyone can publish anything on the Web so it is critical to evaluate the information you find.
Before you begin your search, think about your topic and search terms. Identify key concepts and then brainstorm for related words.
There are various web search tools that you can use but the most popular one to use is Google. The challenge to using Google as well as other search tools is to find relevant websites. Fortunately most web search tools have a help page so check them out if you are not getting the best results and want to improve your searching techniques.
Typing keywords into Google will usually give you thousands of hits. Consider using Google’s Advanced Search to construct a more complex and focused search. Advanced Search also allows you to limit your search by language, region, file format, domain to name a few.
For more information on search, go to Google’s search help pages.
Also consider searching Google Scholar, which enables you to search specifically for scholarly literature, including peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, abstracts and technical reports. Many of the resources found in Google Scholar are available free on the Web or through the Library’s paid subscriptions. Search Google Scholar through a Queen’s NetID login in order to see the full text of books, articles, etc.
Check out the recommended websites by subject by going to our Research by Subject guides.
Anyone can create a webpage so it is particularly important to analyze and assess information that you find on the Web before using it in a research paper. Go to Evaluating Web Sources for a checklist of things to consider when analyzing a web page.