Global Schoolhouse Home Home Base: Harnessing the Power of the WebIntro to NetPBL: Collaborative Project-Based LearningBuilding Collaborative Student Web ProjectsGuide to Conducting Research on the InternetLibrary of References, Readings and ResourcesTable of Contents
Introduction to Searching the Internet
Information Resources
Human Resources
Digital Resources
Finding Digital Resources
Evaluating Internet Resources
Organizing Your Research
Topic-Oriented Research Directories
Search Engines
Primary Document Resources
1. Selecting your topic
2. Collecting information
3. Organizing your information

2. Collecting Information

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When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains,  however improbable, must be the truth.

Sherlock Holmes
The Sign of Four

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When you have settled on a topic for your information product, you should start searching for information. Think about the following questions and ideas as you search your digital and print resources.
  • What sort of information do you need to accomplish your goal(s)? Do you need arguments, results of other people's research, statistics, or pictures? Would the information be time sensitive?
  • What kinds of sources are likely to have the information you seek? Would the information be general enough to come from encyclopedias, or should you look through news magazines for time sensitive information, or newsgroups for opinions?
  • Is the information reliable and valid? Does the source relate facts and quotes, or does it issue only opinions? Is the web site you are using published by a university or other reliable institution?
  • Should you adapt or change your topic? Based on the lack or abundance of available information, should you broaden your topic, or should you focus on a sub-topic? Has your opinion of the topic changed as a result of the information you have found? Should you adapt the topic based on new ideas?
In order to provide a citation of your information, you will need the following information:
  • Author's name
  • Full title of the work
  • Title of the complete work (if applicable)
  • Publishing organization
  • Document date
  • Date Accessed
  • Full URL

As mentioned in the section on evaluating Internet resources, it will become increasingly important to have information about the found data, explanations of conditions that validate the data and its sources. The Internet is going to become increasingly suspect. It will not be enough to say that a person said this in his or her web page. Additional facts will be required as part of the report that validates the information; who generated it, as part of what study, under the support of what organization, and when it was established.

Traditionally, this sort of reference along with a footnote or bibliographic citation was adequate:

Dr. Sara Snow, in her book, The Rising Tide, states that…

Today, more validating facts are needed:

Dr. Sara Snow, in her five-year investigation of red surf algae at the University of Florida, reports from her web site ( that…

The following, are questions that you should ask about the information you wish to use. These questions will help you collect the information about the found data that will validate it in terms of your goals or those of your students' research or projects.

  • What is it about the author that supports your project goals?
  • What is it about the publishing organization that supports your project goals?
  • What is it about how the information was generated that supports your project goals?
  • What is it about the nature of the information that supports your project goals?

Section 3: Organizing Your Research
Page 1: Selecting your topic
Page 2: Collecting information
Page 3: Organizing your information

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