The Internet is a valid and valuable source of information but should be used cautiously.  Focus on finding accurate information and always verify by confirming with multiple sources.  Remember, anyone can publish on the Internet, cheaply and quickly.

Useful information that can be sourced on the Internet includes:

  • Current news and information
  • Government publications
  • Information from professional bodies and associations
  • Statistics
  • Information about companies
  • Multi-media material

The Internet allows access to so much information that you can easily be overwhelmed. Before you start your search, think about what you’re looking for and some questions to direct and limit your search. 

Be aware that search engines rank results. Google uses algorithms to analyse your words, match your search, rank useful pages, consider context and return the best results.  It is possible that some sites can be manipulated to ensure that they rank highly and move to the top of the list.  Always think about your results in terms of: Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy/Reliability and Purpose/Bias.

Useful Google Features

  • Advanced Search – to narrow results
    Use the advanced search features to specify certain sites or domains (eg. ac.uk), search for particular file types (pdfs, ppt) or pages updated recently (last day or last week).
  • Google Images – to search for images
    Find images online.  Try a reverse image search by clicking on the camera in the search box. Upload your image and Google will find related or similar ones.  Remember, most images are protected by copyright.  This means that you cannot just download and use them in a poster or presentation without checking for restrictions. 
  • Google Books – to search for book previews
    Find chapters and some complete books online.  Look at tables of contents or book indexes.  Enter the details into LibrarySearch to see if we have a copy of the book at Abertay.
  • Google Scholar – to search for journal articles.
    Draws upon a wide variety of sources, not all results will be high quality or peer-reviewed.  Results may also include unpublished versions of articles and other kinds of sources. See our Getting the most out of Google Scholar page for more details.