NEUROBIOLOGY Molecules, Cells and Systems
Gary G. Matthews
General Web Searching Hints
The resources page gives links to help you get started with the web assignments.
When you click on a link you will leave this web site. If you broaden your search you may lose your way and not be able to easily come back to this site. One easy trick for Windows users is to use your right mouse button to click on the link. You will get a menu where you can choose to open the link in a new window. This way when you want to come back to the Neurobiology site all you have to do is close the current window you are using.
Effective researching using the web is just as much of an acquired skill as using more traditional, paper-based research media. You need to be focused and directed in your searching, otherwise you may become overwhelmed and distracted by the huge wealth of information available on the web.
Here are five top research tips:
Search: Use web search engines like Yahoo! and Alta Vista to find web pages that contain relevant keywords. Many web sites have their own search features that allow you to find relevant content within the site. For long web pages you can even use the browser's "Find" feature to look for the part of the page you are interested in. The resources page gives links to additional search engines.
Browse: Once you have searched out some web sites, start browsing around them by following links that might be relevant. Many sites have a "Links" page that contains links to other web sites on the same subject. This is a good way of finding new sites that may not have shown up in your initial search. Some search sites like Yahoo! also categorize web sites according to content. Browsing these categories is a good way of finding things if you're not exactly sure what you're looking for, or can't think of a suitable keyword to search for.
Remember: It is too easy to just keep browsing from page to page until good resources that you came across early on get forgotten. If you come across a useful page, write down the address (URL), or add it to your browser's bookmarks or favorites, so that you can find it again later. If you find a good page of links, then don't browse too far away from it - keep using the the browser's "Back" button to get back to it before following another link. Newer browsers also keep a history of visited pages for a short time to help you find a page you found useful.
Focus: You will usually find many sites on a particular subject, but only a few of them will be truly useful. Try to be critical of the sites that you visit and concentrate on the ones that provide the greatest depth and breadth of information. Don't be sidetracked by pretty graphics or cute features - it's the content that counts!
Widen: Finally, don't forget to widen your search to other information sources - books, CD-ROMs etc.