Beyond Google: The Art of Time-Effective Information Gathering

04/13/2011 02:55 pm ET | Updated Jun 01, 2011

Conducting Internet research is a challenge. It's time consuming, often confusing and who ever thought too much information could be a problem? The Internet has opened up the world of information gathering to the extent that it can be overwhelming and therefore problematic. Google searches can be conflicting, redundant and often incomplete. Common complaints for online research include:

• Validating the information for reliability
• Relevance of the results
• Multiple points of view and the inability to source the information
• Time intensive

There is help.

Several research techniques that will smooth out the bumpy road to online information. Effective research tools can cut research time significantly as well as reduce the amount of irrelevant information and improve the reliability of the results.

Follow my research secrets to streamline your process and give you the skills and tools you need to conduct fast, effective investigations.

Super Sleuthing Research Tips

  1. Understand the different between data and information. DATA is a single piece of information, as a fact, statistic, code or an item. It may be a fact assumed a matter of direct observation. INFORMATION is the knowledge received concerning a particular fact or circumstance.

  • Know how to remove ambiguity in your search. Many words have different meanings (the word "capital," for example, can mean seat of government, money, letter or crime).
  • Use standard "search strings" to narrow your search and improve results. For example: the hyphen search string, the wildcard search, the date range search, the exact search using quotation marks, blog keyword search: inurl, the file type search such as PDF, PPT or XLS, The link search: link:, Find information using "either or" and the definition search: define:writing, Boolean search: And, Or, Not, +:
  • Use the "deep web" which is 500 times bigger than the standard searchable web. To find "Deep Web" search engines, just use "Deep Web" plus the topic in your search box.
  • Use a Web credibility formula to evaluate information and pre-screen Web sites for credibility. A good program is the CARS check list: Credibility, Accuracy, Reasonableness and Support.
  • Avoid unintentional plagiarism. Everything on the Internet is protected by copyright. Always cite anything taken from a Web site and use the URL with a date to note the quotation or information.
  • For a more complete and comprehensive explanation on the details for conducting Internet research and the skills required to improve your search capabilities, Geri Spieler hosts a one-hour LIVE Internet Research Webinar. Go to