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Team Building Skills

Internet Research

When working on virtual teams, you will be keeping connected using many forms of technology. Team work may require you to research on the Internet. Therefore, you must be comfortable using the Internet and various search engines. There are many things that you should consider while working on the Internet. Below are listed a few:

  1. Anyone can put something on a web page. Unlike a library where publications are selected, the Internet is open to self-publishers. As the researcher, you will need to analyze the web sites for their reliability and appropriateness.
  2. Think about your topic and the type of information you want to find. What companies, organizations, research centers, colleges, and libraries might have the information you want? Not everything is on the web. Think about other resources such as professional journals, magazines, and personal interviews.
  3. Be familiar with the strengths of various web sites. Do not just use one web site for your research. There are many databases, and the large search engines are not usually the best way to research technical information.
  4. Use directory searches as well as search engines. Looking through the subjects listed in a directory search may help you organize and locate the best information out there.
  5. Know how to use Advanced Search features and Boolean logic. While the big search engines have advanced search features that make selecting and eliminating keywords easier, some of the more specialized search engines may not have that feature. Understanding the logic behind your search will be a huge advantage for you.
  6. Learn how to narrow or expand your search. If your search gives you a very long list of results, you should be more specific in the words you choose and the logic you are using. On the other hand, if you have a very short list, use more general wording or alternative spellings.
  7. Remember that even mega-search engines do not index every site on the web. You will definitely want to use several search engines to find the information you desire. Some sites may be picked up by different search engines. Never rely on one search engine for your research project.
  8. Research the links you find on web pages. Do not forget to follow the threads in the research others have completed. You may find a web site that is biased or has some of the information you want, and by following the resources used, you may very well find the information you are seeking.
  9. Look for journals and magazines that are also published on the web. There are many "non web" resources that can also be found on the Internet. For that matter, there are even complete books on the web. If you find print material on the web, you will want to cite both the web location and the print information.

Finding Information on the Internet

There are several ways you can go about finding your information on the Internet:

Keeping Track of Web Sites

When you start researching on the Internet, you may find that you start following links, and then at some point you cannot get back to some information you wanted. Here are some tips for keeping track of where you have been:

  1. Bookmark sites or add them to a Favorites folder. Make sure that you give the pages your own name because you may not remember the default title. You do not want to save every page this way because the folder will be too full to easily navigate.
  2. Use a browser plug-in. Zotero has a free plug-in for both Firefox and Chrome.
  3. Print important web pages. This can get a little expensive, but at least you will have the information.
  4. Create a word processed document with the web links. This is a good way to store your information when you want to add text reminders of the important things at the web site.
  5. Store your web link information online. There are many sites that allow you to maintain word processed files online. Google Drive,, and Zoho are just a few.

Evaluating Internet Resources

Whenever you find information online that you want to use to support your research, it is important to evaluate the site. Here are some questions to ask as you are evaluating web sites:

There is also a checklist that may be helpful.

Next section:  Using Search Engines

Team Building Skills
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Velda Arnaud, Ph.D.
Executive Director
Lead, Educate, Serve Society

Last updated 10/4/14 (va)
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