Research and the Use of Different Search Engines

Research is a difficult process for people. Many like to take the easy path of just taking in the information of which they first find, without actually knowing if it has good authority. In class today, Peekay (a fun, enthusiastic, passionate, and helpful scholar and instructor), taught us that as scholars and college students, we must learn to really narrow down what we’re are researching or searching to truly find the information that we are looking for. Everyone has a virtual presence on the Web, in which Peekay explains that Google has tracked down all our whereabouts online and through everything you click on or view, they connect everything and set up a profile for you. If you choose to go on a completely new, different computer of which you’ve never used before, you will have different information pop up than what would pop up on your personal computer; this is because the computer doesn’t know who you are yet. Peekay shows us three different search engines:,, and is interesting, because it ‘says’ it’s “the search engine that doesn’t track you”. Basically all that means is that if you have a Facebook account, you won’t have different ads pop up of certain things that  you’ve looked up. We searched the same thing on all search engines to see what kind of difference there was for each one. All were very similar. Google did something very interesting, in which it created a knowledge graph where, data from the computer puts all its information up that it already knows. Peekay uses these different search engines as an introductory to what she teaches us about doing online searching and research.

Questions Peekay says to always be asking when doing research are: Where is this information coming from? Can you find an author, or a group of people who have written this? Why are they reliable? Is there authority? How accurate is this information? She explains how if or when using Google, use the advanced search under the settings, and when searching around, look for an author or an abstract because that gives it more authority, and .gov sites as well; that Google isn’t always bad, and is good for personal purposes. Looking for citations by authors is good too, because then you can track down where all their information comes from. She almost screams this to the classroom, that you don’t have to be alone when doing research for papers! “Go to your local library and have someone help you!” From this, she turns the conversation over to using the library search engine.

The library search engine is a great place to conduct research because it really can narrow down what you are looking for. It has magazines and periodicals which can give you good information, but doesn’t really mean that the information was peer reviewed before posting. If you want really good authority, look under scholarly (peer reviewed) journals, because this means the information was checked and has already been peer reviewed, meaning good, trustworthy information. Through the schools library engine, you can look for  currency of the postings, because things are always changing (it has a spot on the side where you can narrow down exactly from when you want to gather your information). Peekay says that “knowledge builds upon knowledge.” That we as scholars can use all the information we get, our own experiences, and then even ourselves, add knowledge to the world (this is difficult to grasp for many). When doing research, you can really narrow down information looking under specific/different data bases (on library search engine, on the side under “limit by database” you can do this). Peekay illustrates that the same day you conduct research, always READ something, add to your knowledge, and then continue your research. Look at the title, the subject terms/words, and the abstract and that can help you immensely to find what you’re looking for. She ends by saying it’s a process, and yes it takes time and it takes work; whatever you choose to use, always evaluate and think about what will work better for you and your goals for whatever you are doing.

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