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Earth Sciences

Research tips & resources for Noah Hughes' classes

Search Smarter

You don't want to wade through millions of Web pages. By using a few tricks, you can focus your searches relatively easily to those authoritative, reliable sources you want to use.

  • Use key search terms - Use the same search terms you used successfully to find books and articles.
  • Know your search tool - Use advanced search features to control your search. For example you can limit your search in Google to just search government or educational Web sites by limiting to a specific domain. Learn more at Google for Researchers.
  • Use search tools you can trust - Google Scholar indexes scholarly literature on the Web.

You can search Google Scholar below:

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Google Scholar Search

Don't Reinvent the Wheel

Top Level Sites

One of the best ways to begin the Web portion of your research is by identifying top-level sites. It works like this:  Think of what kind of information you want, and then try to think of an agency, organization, or institution who tracks and publishes information on that topic.  For instance:

For Information on…

You might try visiting the…

Breast Cancer

National Cancer Institute

History of football

National Football League

West Nile Virus

Center for Disease Control

Air Pollution

Environmental Protection Agency

Disappearing California Farmland

California Dept. of Agriculture

Nuclear Waste

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

 

Top level sites will not only be a likely source of high-quality information on your topic, but will also often provide links to other relevant sites that you can use to learn more about your topic.

Other ways you can identify appropriate top-level agencies include:

  • “Contact Information” sections included in the MJC Library article databases, CQ Researcher and Issues & Controversies
  • Agencies, organizations, and publications mentioned in books and articles you’ve already found
  • Discussions with your librarian and professor

Suggested Sites