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BGSU Firelands Library

Firelands Library Research Guide: Internet Research

This is the basic research guide to help with writing a research paper in any class.

Google (Search Engine) Searching

  • considered the largest search engine                                                         
  • a crawler-based tool that provides comprehensive coverage of the Web and has the ability to retrieve highly relevant results
  • also provides access to images, discussion groups/blogs, 
    document storage and much more!

Using the Internet as a Research Tool

Research on the World Wide Web

 Research for a paper or project should never be done solely on the World Wide Web.  Good research combines various sources (books, journal articles, news stories, etc.) for a well-rounded outlook on your topic.

 Search engines are remotely accessible programs that let you do keyword searches for information on the Internet. They are collections of websites (a database) that are created by machine.  There are specific computer programs (called spiders or robots) that go out into the Internet, bring back websites, and store them.  Google is an example of a search engine. 

  Search engines give you a great amount of information but this information should be combined with a search in some directories as well.  Yahoo is a good example of a directory. If you prefer to start with websites that are more organized into subject matter, use a directory.  You should always search more than one place to get information and evaluate and compare your results.  See the section below about metasearching to help you perform more comprehensive searches. 

Meta Searching


Every time you type in a query in a meta-search engine, it searches a series of search engines and directories at the same time, compiles their results, and displays them either by search engine employed or by integrating them in a uniform manner.

Meta-search engines are best to use when you want a general search and aren't sure where to start. By providing you results from a series of sites, they help you to determine where to continue focusing your efforts. They also allow you to compare what kinds of results are available on different engine types or to verify that you haven't missed a great resource provided by another site, other than your favorite search engine. Overall, they're a great way to save time.   Some good meta-search engines are:


Dogpile - my favorite...Dogpile returns all the best results from leading search engines including Google and Yahoo!, so you find what you’re looking for faster. 

Library Tips

When you find a search engine that you like or are comfortable with, go to the help area or the area that gives you tips on how to search.  By looking over this information, you can easily become a very proficient searcher and will be able to do great searches quickly and easily. 

Google explaining Google Searching

How to Search Google and find great web sites.