Friday, 26 June 2015 01:24

Information Gathering on the Internet


There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to gathering information on the internet. Depending on the type of research, the rules may vary. An effective information gathering technique can result in better utilization of your time, broaden your perspective by going through various resources, can communicate to your audience with clarity, and enhance your critical thinking skills. Most researchers suggest that the best results are achieved when you start with an outline. That would give you some direction in finding what you want in this vast array of information on the internet. Also, it is suggested that you alter your search as you go along trying out different terms and keywords for your research.

There are five key steps you could follow to achieve best results.

  1. First, be clear of your research direction. You should be knowledgeable about the topic you plan on gathering information. If you are not very familiar with it, it is suggested that you take out a few minutes to browse on the topic. If the topic is too broad, narrow down your topic to make it more specific and manageable.
  2. Second, consider your target audience. Consider how knowledgeable they are on the topic, and decide on the sources you would require accordingly. For example, for a panel of doctors, a medical study would need to be in-depth, citing other studies and experts on the topic. On the contrary, if your audience is the general public, a study has to be presented in a simple format avoiding any jargon. If you are doing a research task for someone else, it is always best to consult them on the type or sources they expect you to use. They can help you in understanding the audience better.
  3. Third, make a rough outline of where you would want to look for material and type of resources you intend to use in your research. You can select from several options such as journal articles, blog posts, online magazines, and publications. This outline, however, should be flexible. You can, and should, modify your outline based on your search as you go along. Change keywords and search tactics depending on the material you retrieve.
  4. Be innovative with your search, and follow new directions, and explore new material if you can. While you browse for information, keep an eye out for valuable pieces of information. You often stumble across such information unexpectedly that could be useful to support your case. Nevertheless, make it a point to use varied resources for your research.
  5. Fourth, . All the data that you have collected from various sources is worthless if it is not properly organized. Hence, information organization is a necessary step in information gathering. After you have collated all the information, it is important to index and organize them to use it effectively. Presentation is extremely important in a research task; hence organization of the data makes it easier to properly present your findings.

Hence it is always best to make an outline, evaluate your audience, and consult with your client. The outline gives you direction. However it should be adjustable and you should make amends as you go along and find new material, new concepts, and perspectives.


World's leading professional association of Internet Research Specialists - We deliver Knowledge, Education, Training, and Certification in the field of Professional Online Research. The AOFIRS is considered a major contributor in improving Web Search Skills and recognizes Online Research work as a full-time occupation for those that use the Internet as their primary source of information.

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