fbpx

For many students, the most challenging part about writing a research paper is the research. Even the best students often don’t know how to conduct research or even where to start.

But you’re in luck:

This article by Custom-writing.org experts provides a list of great research tools that will be useful at every stage of the process. The collection includes everything necessary to write a great paper, from online public libraries to dissertation databases. There are also some data analysis and data visualization research tools, as well as organizers for scholars. The list includes brief descriptions for each of the tools. All you need is to continue reading, choose the tools you like most, and get a fantastic result!

research steps

1.  Doing Research: Key Steps

Regardless of the subject field, all research has a similar structure. Such an approach facilitates the mutual understanding of scientists from neighboring or even distant domains. As a rule, scientific texts are challenging to write and read. That is why you need to observe the following procedure.

  1. Topic selection. Surprisingly, this is the most creative part of a research project. The subject area shall be topical and relevant, and the title must be concise and informative.
  2. Literature review and concept development. To write something new, you need to know what has already been written by other scientists. Study the available literature on your subject and define what statement or concept you will defend in your research.
  3. Empirical part: data collection and analysis. Accumulate the evidence to support your thesis statement.
  4. Conclusions and recommendations. Any research finishes with generalizations of the findings. You can as well give general suggestions for your successors in research.

The following sections provide you with tools and techniques to facilitate each of the four stages. There is also a list of tools helping to organize the entire research procedure.

2.  Topic Generating Tools

In science and academia, nobody receives a ready-made topic to work on. As a rule, you are given a direction in which you should look for an unexplored field of knowledge. With this direction in mind, you can brainstorm a compelling topic that would be engaging. There are multiple tools to make the task an easy one.

1 Lucidchart Lucidchart is an excellent instrument based on infographics. The diagrams in this software help to understand people’s behavior, data, and processes. The visualization allows to find out the interdependence between different phenomena. If you have a large bulk of information to process before generating a topic, this should be your choice.
2 Mind42 Mind42 is a free (ad-supported) mind mapping tool. Structure your notes here for further reference. It works as a block diagram, where units of information are connected with arrows. It is user-friendly, so you will not waste much time on preparations.
3 Visual Thesaurus This one is more about the formulation. If you have come up with a topic, but struggle with its wording, visualize it with the tool. The tool gives you a list of word associations and their relationships. By the way, the service is excellent for theoretical research as it builds word maps, provides their meanings, and suggests related terms.

3.  Research Tools for Making a Literature Review

3.1. Research Databases

So, you have created a word document and noted the title. What next? You should look for the most authoritative works in the required sphere. How do you know which ones are the most influential? There are online research tools that create lists of the most cited scientific articles.

1 Google Scholar The same company that produced the world’s top search engine also offers the world’s top scholarly search engine. Google Scholar works just like Google. But it directly links you to only publications in countless academic journals. When using the system, look at the right-hand side of the search results. There, Google Scholar shows you if a PDF is available for each article.
2 Web of Knowledge Many academic research services charge a fee. But Web of Knowledge is the most widely used. And this is for a good reason: it provides search features missing from Google Scholar. Check to see if your library offers access to the Web of Knowledge.
3 LexisNexis This is the research resource of choice for law school students and lawyers. Of course, this is an expensive service for individuals. But your school may have free access.
4 Scopus Scopus is a bibliographical base used by over five thousand academic, governmental, and corporate establishments. It searches through about 75 million entries, including 194’000 books. You can search by author, document title, or affiliation. It shows the citation rate of almost any article from any discipline. The tool also suggests similar documents by related references, which could accelerate your research.
5 Web of Science WoS is a multidisciplinary citation database trusted by more than 9 thousand institutions. It allows for the historical tracking of research questions in all spheres of knowledge. 9.1 billion cited references would suffice for the most exigent researcher. Web of Science can be used as a resource to find trusted materials in the public domain.

3.2. Digital Libraries

Once you have found enough references, you need to study them. Visiting conventional libraries is often a waste of time since many contemporary research documents are accessible on the web. Digital libraries are usually paid web research tools, but many universities and colleges purchase a subscription for their students.

1 Google Books Google Books was launched in 2004. Today, it offers full-text searches of over 25 million books. That’s a lot of reading!
2 The US Library of Congress As a leading research library, the Library of Congress has an incredible number of online resources. Their website lets you search for nearly every book ever written. You can also skim their vast online collections.
3 Project Gutenberg The goal of Project Gutenberg sounds crazy. They aim to digitize every book that is not under copyright. In brief, they offer almost every classic book published before 1900.
4 JSTOR This database searches for books, primary sources, and journals. It provides free access to open community collections of museums, public libraries, and archives. The resource has a special offer due to COVID-19 displacement of students, offering free use of unlicensed materials. Still, only the participating educational institutions are eligible. You can share your lists with other users if you wish.
5 ScienceDirect ScienceDirect focuses on medical, technical, engineering, and scientific research, but humanities are also covered. It provides access to foundational and theoretic materials and the latest findings. You can search by keywords, author, title of book or journal, volume, issue, and page. All the literature is peer-reviewed and can be trusted.
6 ResearchGate ResearchGate provides more than 135 million publication pages. The tool is an excellent solution to keep up with the latest research news. It allows sharing your research with peers, collaborating with them across the continents, and asking for expert support. You can as well track how many people have read or referenced your work.
7 Wiley Online Library Here you can access an extensive collection of books and reference resources during 48 hours on a pay-per-view basis. Many articles are available for paid download for lifetime use. It can be done without a subscription. Through this resource, you can find reliable user guides, training videos, and webinars.

3.3. Discipline-Oriented Libraries

If you are working in a narrow scientific field, multidisciplinary libraries may not meet your expectations and needs. Besides, if various disciplines discuss your research question, the search for references becomes a daunting task. Then you should explore discipline-oriented libraries. They function just like any other digital library but provide access to works in only one area of knowledge.

1 Project MUSE Johns Hopkins University hosts this web resource. It mainly focuses on digital articles and book chapters on humanities and social sciences.
2 PubMed Central The U.S. National Institutes of Health’s National Library of Medicine offers PubMed Central. This is a free source for almost 4 million academic articles on biology and medicine.
3 IEEE Xplore This is the place to start if your research focuses on any of the many engineering fields.
4 arXiv Cornell University’s arXiv is the most extensive collection of open-source papers in mathematical fields. Subjects range from physics to statistics and finance.

3.4. Dissertation Databases

Ph.D. theses are usually written by young scientists. They are interested in being cited as much as possible, as it raises their researcher’s status. For this reason, top universities allow free access to Masters’ and Ph.D. papers written by their students. You can use these databases in your research.

1 PQDT Open Proquest is the most extensive open-access dissertation database. It provides full-text versions of theses & dissertations on a range of disciplines.
2 MIT Theses This archive contains every dissertation and thesis completed at MIT since 2004. But some date back to the 1800s. The complete collection contains more than 50000 texts.
3 Stanford University Libraries The graduate work of over a hundred thousand Stanford students is searchable from anywhere in the world.
4 UColorado Libraries Since 1997, the University of Colorado has archived every one of their Ph.D. dissertations here.
5 IDEALS At the University of Illinois, students have the option of depositing their theses on IDEALS. And you have the option of searching for their dissertations!
6 FAS Theses & Dissertations Last but not least, check out Harvard’s archive of dissertations begun in 2012. It’s one of the most famous universities in the world for a very good reason.

4.  Research Tools for Data Analysis

Data analysis is an essential part of any empirical research. It requires discipline-specific skills and knowledge of research instruments. Below you can find just a small share of data analysis tools available online or downloadable for most operating systems.

1 MS Excel Many people know it, but few of us can use its functionality. Its principal benefit is that this program is available in the MS Office package. It is an old tool, but it is the best for simple statistics, customizable graphics, and data visualization.
2 SPSS SPSS or Statistical Package for the Social Sciences is the most popular statistical software among human behavior researchers. It allows for parametric and non-parametric studies, descriptive statistics, and graphic visualization of the findings. You can also write scripts for automated analysis or more advanced statistical research.
3 R-project This package is free and widely used in many disciplines. Its toolboxes (or plugins) simplify any data processing. The functionality is the best among similar software solutions. It requires a certain knowledge of coding. Still, you can discuss any issues with the extended community that builds and improves the package.
4 Stata Stata is more functional than SPSS but simpler than R. Detailed user guides and tons of valuable information on forums can help you resolve almost any issue. This paid software is available for any platform. It is user-friendly and easily automated.

5.  Data Visualization Tools

When your research findings are ready, the worst thing you can do is pour all the statistical data on your future readers. Visualization of all those percentages, ratios, and correlations makes your paper engaging and easy to follow. Respect your reader’s time and try not to turn your research paper into a quiz.

1 Google Charts This is an excellent and totally free example of data visualization tools. Its interactive charts are explicitly designed to be embedded online. It offers a wide range of chart formats to choose from. The most significant benefit is its ability to work with dynamic data. However, Google Charts have limited support, namely tutorials and forum discussions.
2 Tableau Tableau astonishes with the number of data uploading options. Besides, it has a desktop, online, and free public versions. Unlike Google Charts, it has multiple video tutorials, so only the lazy will not master it. Still, its paid versions are expensive (about $70), and the public version does not permit you to keep your data private.
3 Infogram Infogram has a free version offering basic functionality and tiered pricing for the paid version. Its drag-and-drop editor is user-friendly and intuitive. The tool allows for interactive visualizations to be integrated into websites and apps. Its drawback is the small number of built-in data sources, as compared to other programs.
4 D3.js This is a free, open-source JavaScript library to manage data documents. People without programming skills can easily use software tools to create visualizations. Multiple types of charts and a customizable interface make it convenient and understandable. Still, programming knowledge will be beneficial when working with this software.

6.  Tools to Organize Your Research Process

Good organization is something needed on every research step. Below is a list of the most useful organizational tools for scholars.

1 Scrivener This tool unites the functions of a typewriter, ring-binder, and scrapbook. The trial version lasts for 30 days and includes all the features of the full version. This period is enough to understand whether you enjoy working in this program and complete a short project. It provides you with multiple methods of how to enjoy your research.
2 Zotero This is a excellent option for theoretical research that includes numerous citations. It is an open-source program facilitating the process of quoting and indicating the sources. It also collects and structures your information. These structures are tagged with keywords, which is very convenient for large-scale projects. Zotero has a function that creates a bibliography in any citation style.
3 Mendeley Mendeley creates a personal library directly from your browser tabs and desktop files. In a few clicks, you can generate citations and references to your library list. It has a function of personalized recommendations to stay informed about the newest research results. Besides, here you can browse information about more than 5’000 funding organizations and their grants.

Most people work with the software they are used to, ignoring the new and more functional alternatives. It is often rewarding to invest your time into exploring a new tool than to research and write your thesis in the same old way. Share your opinion about the described instruments in the comments and suggest your favorite ones!

Source: custom-writing.org

Categorized in Online Research

[This article is originally published in forbes.com written by Brandon Stapper - Uploaded by AIRS Member: Dorothy Allen]

In 2018, a one-size-fits-all approach to lead generation simply doesn't work anymore. Appealing to different market segments to generate leads requires an intimate knowledge of the different lead generation tools at your disposal. And knowing these individual tools isn't enough -- you must also create the perfect blend of lead generation tools to reach all corners of your prospective markets.

As a printing company, we market to a wide variety of clientele. From corporate businesses that need new signage and displays for promotions, to individual clients who need invitations and decor for celebratory events, we've had to learn how to market effectively to them all. Along the way, I realized that the engaging subject line sales email that worked for a company in the trade show circuit won't work for a bride looking to print her suite of wedding stationery. This doesn't mean I've had to choose one or the other, but instead I have had to make a plan to reach both efficiently and effectively.

If you would like to do the same in your small business and create the ideal mix of lead generation tools to work for your markets, here are some of the tried-and-tested tips that worked for me.

First off, what is lead generation?

Lead generation can best be boiled down to how you create and capture interest in your product. This broad definition encompasses a ton of different methodologies, from in person to digital. Most importantly, lead generation evolves with the times. As new technologies surface or the latest social media craze begins, lead generation aims shifts to meet each market segment where they're at.

The biggest trend to date is the desire for an organic lead generation. Cold calling is out and often viewed as an antiquated, interruptive and tiresome practice. Instead, customers prefer a soft sell, in which they organically stumble across your product or service and make the decision to buy.

Find your mix with these three questions.

The answer to how to create your lead generation mix can be answered in three simple questions and validated by on-the-ground research. Before blindly investing in marketing campaigns over multiple platforms, ask yourself:

  •  Where does a member of my target market spend most of their time?
  •  Why would a member of my target market need my product or service?
  •  What is the member of my target market's buying preference?

These three questions will help you suss out the best ways to position your product or service. Pay attention to the last question -- buying preference is a big one. If you're marketing to a younger generation, chances are you'll want to have a clean, uncluttered site with a quick checkout option -- and I mean quick. Filling in a bunch of questions and being taken through a cyclone of pages may convince your younger buyer to leave your product in their cart.

Allocate your funds accordingly.

After some thought, you probably have a pretty good idea of your ideal customer and where they buy most of their products (and why). Depending on the size of each ideal customer base -- like our company, you may have many -- allocate your marketing funds accordingly. If you primarily do business-to-business (B2B) sales, then email lead generation software and state-of-the-art trade show displays may receive the majority of your marketing support. If you're searching for a younger, hipper demographic, you may disproportionately put funds toward influencer campaigns, social media, and web design.

Here are some ideas to get you started.

If you're unsure exactly what tools are at your disposal, do some research by talking to and observing your target market. Here are some rules of thumb to consider in triangulating the perfect approach for an organic lead generation.

  • Content marketing: Writing helpful how-to articles establishes you as a thought leader that people feel encouraged to buy from. Guest posts on other sites are also a great way to gain visibility with new audiences and encourage organic lead generation. Depending on your industry, this approach is a great way to attract the eyes of young professionals looking for career advice.
  • Social media: If your product or service can be marketed visually, Instagram and Snapchat are great platforms to get the attention of younger millennials. Facebook marketing is a strength when appealing to middle-aged consumers. Keep in mind that mindless scrolling on Instagram and Facebook occurs during downtime, and Facebook is the main culprit behind browser tabs when professionals are killing time at work.
  • Trade show and professional networking: Consider joining your town or city's Chamber of Commerce or CVB. You'll rub elbows with decision makers who know other decision makers, and establishing yourself as a leader in your community or industry can easily create organic leads. Trade shows are also a good opportunity for B2B networking and lead generation.

There are too many other examples to count, but if you spend time putting yourself in the shoes of your target market and searching out the points where they would stumble across your product or service during the day, you can't go wrong. Crafting the perfect mix of lead generation techniques is a challenge, but a fun one -- especially when it pays off!

Categorized in How to

[This article is originally published in keengamer.com written by Dmytro Voloshyn - Uploaded by AIRS Member: Deborah Tannen]

We all strive to bring interesting and unique gaming content when it comes to gaming blogs and websites. Well, maybe not every one of us, but the majority certainly does. Sometimes, even unintentionally, you may copy the original content. Whether it is intentional or not, any plagiarism is still plagiarism. We've found the tool to help you deal with the issue.

Are you having plagiarism issues? Has your search index lowered due to plagiarism? There are two types of plagiarism.

  • Copied text 
  • Copied Image

There are several tools to check the plagiarism before posting online. Use the text plagiarism tool to make your text unique; any matched sentences can be removed. Don’t want your content to look as if it was copied from another gaming blog or website? Use the tool to check it. If you happen to have problems with images, you can use the reverse image tool to deal with the issues.


Best tool to check image plagiarism

The best tool to check image plagiarism It is the Duplicheker! You get the best reverse image checker. It provides information about the image comprising of objects, places, individuals, and others. This way, you don’t end up accidentally using an image that belongs to another gaming website, blog, or channel. You just have to upload the image or give the link of the image in the search box. The result will be on your screen in a matter of seconds. You can easily get the details of the image.

User-Friendly Tool

The tool is simple. The user just has to upload the image or enter the URL of the image, and the search engine will take care of the rest. This way, you get rid of the plagiarism in an easy-to-use and convenient way. You do not need any external help to use the tool.

Free Tool

The Reverse Image Search of DupliChecker is a free tool to search for images online. The tool doesn’t require keywords. By uploading images in the box, you will get the relevant result. It takes no time and provides image details, such as the camera and memory usage. You are just one click away from the result! The tool checks an unlimited number of images, and there are no time limitations.

Image Quality

In order to get a wide range of HD quality images, use Google search. The results are HD quality and high-resolution images. You can use them for your mobile devices as well. With the help of the Reverse Image tool, you can check the resolution and quality of images. The tool will inform you if images can be used on your all devices, be it a laptop, tablet, mobile, or PC device.

Fake social media accounts

The tool is a big helper and can be used for various scenarios. For example, you can find fake social media accounts with it. You can get the details about the social media account that is not genuine. If you are not sure about an account, you can easily check the account using the tool. Running the particular image search will instantly provide account details.



Image theft protection

The tool is also very handy for photographers. It helps to check plagiarism. If you are a professional, and someone is using your pictures, then the Reverse Image Search tool is the right option for you. By using the tool, you can easily check authorship. No one should use your photos illegally commercial purpose! The Image Search tool has access to the most recent data, guaranteeing trusted sources.

Google Image Search has been used before for this purpose, but the Reverse Image Search tool is quite similar in terms of efficiency and accuracy in results. The tool allows you to use pictures with its copyright infringement, utilizing custom counterfeiting identification programming.

Conclusion

The Reverse Image Search tool is intuitive, fluid, and easy-to-use. You will find it to be one of the best search engines! It has top-notch quality and is efficient and accurate.

Categorized in Search Engine

Source: This article was Published techworm.net By Abhishek Kumar Jha - Contributed by Member: Jay Harris

The world has changed in recent times, and there has been the technological advancement that has made the life of people more comfortable, faster, and secure than it was before. People were not aware in the past that how useful this advanced technology can be for their personal as well as social lives.

Today, people are involved in socializing with the world on popular applications online such as Facebook, and many others. Many people are into blogging and content writing for the websites which need several measures to be fulfilled to attract the traffic on their sites.

For the help of these people, two best tools are developed by smallseotools.com: Reverse Image Search and Word Counter. Reverse image search is a CBIR (content-based image retrieval) technique that involves the particular image to be searched to retrieve the information regarding that image. Word counter is the tool that provides users with the information about the characters with and without spaces, number of words and much more.

Reverse Image Search

Reverse image search technology helps you to get to know about who else in the world is manipulating or using the image that belongs to you without seeking permission or copyrights. The image search ensures the compliance with copyright regulations.

The reverse image searching should be used by everyone who is into socializing or running any website. You can use reverse image search as a free online utility that helps you to figure out who is duplicating the picture that belongs to you.

It is quite impossible for you to identify the person who is misusing your picture on the internet because there are numerous websites present, and you can’t go through each of them for detecting who has duplicated your photo. To help you do this work faster and to provide you with knowledge about the misuse of your image or art, reverse image search tool takes few seconds and presents you with the results related to the picture.

Furthermore, people can use this tool to find a better resolution version of their desired images by searching with the lower resolution picture. This helps them posting a good quality picture that has better resolutions. This would make it possible for people to attract more people towards the pictures that they upload.

The reverse photo search can be used on any device whether it is MAC, Linux or OS. No specific operating device is compatible with reverse image search, and it can be consumed for free at any time around the globe.

Search with the picture is easy to use the tool, it does not require training or any tutorial videos to people for being able to use it. The search by a picture with this image search engine can be done in many ways. To search the reverse image search you can upload the file from your device’s gallery, you can drag the image and drop it in the drop box, or you can enter the URL of the image in the search box.

After that just by clicking on the search icon, you’ll be provided with the results (if any) on the screen. You’ll be able to see who else in this world is manipulating the content that belongs to you.

To help yourself in protecting your privacy, image reverse search by smallseotools.com is highly recommended as it is fully secured tool that does not saves the image that you search instead helps you to find out who else is misusing the image.

Word Count Checker

Word counter provides the user with the detailed statistics of syllables, sentences, the average length of words and phrases, keywords, estimated reading and speaking time, etc.

The word count tool is helpful for students who are most likely to be involved in writing tasks. Students are often assigned for the writing of work with the limit provided about the number of words. There is a bit of leeway given; however, if your word limit exceeds too much, then this would lead to a loss of marks.

It will be a waste of time and effort if you count the number of words yourself when this efficient tool is available. Teachers can make use of this tool for checking whether the students wrote in the given length or it exceeded to evaluate and mark them.

As a blogger or content writer, you may be needed to write for someone in a given limit. Here, the word count is the distinctive element that helps bloggers build their credibility. It can be a helpful tool if you own the site, if the text is within a specific length, then it would result in a higher rank for the website. The content writers have to maintain the keyword density; this tool can help them know about the top keyword used in the article.

To use the word counter, you need to enter the text in the space provided. You can also copy and paste the text in the box. The word calculator will show the results as you type. Moreover, there is an option to upload the file in the field provided, it will upload the data in the box, and you will be shown the results immediately. To clear the text for making other word count search, you can click on a button and the text box will be cleared.

The limitation of the file upload on SmallSEOTools word counter is 10 MB size for any file. However, there is no text limit about the number of words. The character count tool accepts variety of file formats like .docx, .txt, and .doc. The word count tool works on the text format most efficiently.

The word count tool is available for 100% free for all the users around the globe. Now people need not rely on the software like MS Word which first needs to be installed on the devices. You can use this tool for free

Categorized in Search Engine

 Source: This article was published icij.org By Spencer Woodman - Contributed by Member: Dorothy Allen

Reporters are navigating a more treacherous environment than at any time in recent memory, and despite a plethora of digital tools to keep them safe – many are failing to adopt new strategies.

It’s a bleak reality: Last year alone, a record number of journalists were killed in Mexico, reporters were imprisoned in Myanmar and journalists in Turkeyfaced criminal charges en masse.

The press’s enemies have been boosted by U.S. President Donald Trump, who has lodged almost daily attacks against journalists, and many have followed his lead. Wealthy private interests have launched their own crusades: a private firm was hired to undermine New Yorker reporter Jane Mayer’s reporting on Koch Industries, and Harvey Weinstein offered big bucks to a military-grade surveillance firm to spy on reporters and their sources breaking the story of his sexual harassment.

“The World Press Freedom map is getting darker,” according to the 2017 World Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders, “and media freedom is under threat now more than ever.”

[Journalists] frequently disregard their sense of insecurity even when they feel unsafe in public or cyberspace.
Canadian Journalists for Free Expression

These threats are compounded by increasingly potent hacking tools falling into the hands of governments around the world and, in some cases, hackers serving government interests. This makes personal cybersecurity an essential first line of defense for reporters everywhere.

Yet many journalists are failing to utilize some of the most basic tools to keep them and their sources safe from digital attack. A recent study by the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression found that some of the most at-risk journalists “frequently disregard their sense of insecurity even when they feel unsafe in public or cyberspace.”

So what can journalists (and citizens) do to better protect themselves online? Here are five security tools that have emerged as among the most commonly recommended for reporters and news organizations as well as their sources.

1. Signal and other end-to-end encrypted apps

Phone calls and digital messaging often comprise the bulk of a journalist’s workday. But conventional lines of communication can leave the contents of conversations vulnerable to hacking. And, even if someone is not able to intercept to the contents of these chats, a hacker can still access extensive archives of related metadata, including who you talked to and when.

But there are an increasing number of options to help you communicate securely with a high degree of confidence.

As we settle into 2018, the app Signal — possibly you’ve already heard of it – is a clear favorite for secure voice calls and messaging between journalists, their editors, and sometimes their civil servant sources.

You can easily use the Signal app on your phone.

“Everyone is really enthusiastic about Signal,” said Harlo Holmes, director of newsroom digital security with the Freedom of the Press Foundation. “Right now it’s the state of the art in terms of encrypted communication.”

To the user, Signal looks and operates like a traditional chat app, and also allows you to avoid expensive international call and text fees. But Signal also offers what’s called end-to-end encryption, meaning communications can only be deciphered on the physical devices of the communicating users. Even if a government tried to compel the group of developers that administers Signal to turn over your communications, it couldn’t provide information: Signal simply has no ability to figure out exactly what you’re doing on its platform.

An increasing number of digital platforms are using end-to-end encryption, but some popular products differ from Signal in one key way: While some of these firms may not be able to access the content of your communications, they can often access valuable metadata that may reveal who you were communicating with and when. These apps also may allow users to inadvertently send messages without end-to-end encryption.

To learn more about Signal, Holmes recommends checking out the foundation’s page on Security Planner, a project of the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab.

2. Secure file storage and encrypted sharing

A large portion of our lives is often stored on our laptops and the messaging platforms, social media sites and work portals they access. For journalists, this can mean a lot of sensitive material, including leaked documents, identities of sources and unpublished story drafts.

Bill Budington a security engineer at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a group dedicated to digital privacy, points to the particularly risky situation of crossing a border and recommends a series of products and measures journalists and others can adopt to keep files safe in the most at-risk circumstances.

His first tip: When most under threat, ditch your primary laptop or smartphone completely. If you have a burner phone or a cheap netbook that doesn’t contain sensitive data, bring this secondary device along instead while traveling.

But when burner devices aren’t an option, Budington says, “the most powerful thing” a person can do to keep devices safe at a border-crossing is to make sure the hard drive is fully encrypted beforehand – helping to ensure that only those with the device’s passphrase will be able to access its files. This step is also among the easiest – for Mac iOS and some Windows users, it can be as simple as clicking a few buttons to activate built-in encryption programs.

Even with an encrypted hard drive, hackers can attempt to “brute-force” a password, potentially gaining access to the encrypted data. (In many jurisdictions, courts and law enforcement agencies can try to compel you to turn over your password under threat of punishment, including incarceration.) An open-source program called VeraCrypt can add an additional layer of encryption, so that, even if hackers get access to your hard drive, they then must enter what amounts to a highly-fortified folder to gain access to your most sensitive information.

Yet even the most highly secured hard drive will provide little help in protecting your data when you inevitably need to transfer a sensitive document to someone else via the internet. Some of the most prominent file-sharing programs, such as Google Drive and Dropbox, do not provide what Budington calls “client-side” encryption by default.

“For cloud storage, the most important feature for secure storage is for the program you’re using to encrypt files locally on your own machine before they are uploaded to the cloud servers,” Budington told the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). There are some services that provide local encryption prior to upload – Budington recommends SpiderOak, the Keybase filesystemtresoritand Jungle Disk.

You can learn more about device security and document storage by watching a security talk Budington gave in December.

3. Password managers

As hackers become more sophisticated, maintaining strong and up-to-date passwords that aren’t reused across different services is a must. But for reporters who use numerous online services and databases, this can become burdensome: Memorizing a series of complex and ever-changing passwords isn’t feasible and storing them in your computer or email makes them prone to fall into the hands of hackers.

Chris Walker, Digital Security Advisor at the Tactical Technology Collective, a cyber security initiative based in Berlin, recommends solving this problem with an encrypted password manager, which can both generate and store your passwords for you.

“Writing down your passwords and keeping them all in one place might not sound like a good idea at first,” Walker says, but he assures that with the right password manager, users will be more secure with fewer hassles. These apps can both generate stronger passwords and remember them for you.

KeyPass is just one Password manager available.
 
Walker recommends one tool in particular: KeePassXC, a system he describes as highly secure. “It is well maintained, free and open-source software that relies on well understood, standards-based encryption to protect your passwords,” Walker says. “It is also quite simple. It does not try to store your data online or sync between multiple devices. This simplicity helps protect KeePassXC from many potential avenues of attack.”

KeePassXC also has competitors that have been highly rated, including Lastpass, which both Securityplanner.org and online consumer guide Wirecutter recently recommended.

4. Two-factor authentication and its innovations

But Walker is quick to point out that even the most well-managed passwords must be used, when possible, alongside two-factor authentication – an extra layer of security that most often requires users to enter a temporary code that is only accessible from a personal device, usually a cell phone, in addition to their passwords. The idea is that, even if hackers have cracked your password, they still must somehow get their hands on a physical device that only you carry.

This is a basic step that should be used whenever you need to log in to an online service – including email portals, Twitter, Facebook, bank accounts and wherever else you use passwords to protect and to prevent hackers obtaining sensitive information.

One problem with this: The text messages containing these codes can be intercepted. This year may also see a growing adoption of a new sort of two-factor authentication that security engineers believe may be safer than receiving a code on your iPhone: Google is now offering to provide people at high risk of surveillance a program that requires users deploy two physical authenticator keys as a final step for unlocking an account. The devices can fit on a keychain and use USB or bluetooth technology to communicate with your computer and smartphone.

Google’s two-factor authentication requires an extra login step.

Runa Sandvik, the senior director of information security at The New York Times, is a fan of Google’s new initiative, known as the Advanced Protection Program. “I think the Advanced Protection Program (APP) is a great option for at-risk users,” Sandvik told ICIJ. “I have, personally, used APP for a few months and see no reason not to turn it on.”

For more information on Google’s APP and its physical security key, the New York Times has a good article on it and you can also visit the Google’s website. (Unfortunately, this feature isn’t free – each key costs about $20.)

5. Slack alternatives for your office

Over the past several years, new technology known widely by the brand-named Slack has pervaded American office culture. It’s part chat, part email, highly distracting and can archive everything you say and all the documents you upload. Slack has been criticized for its lack of full encryption, and, last year, a web security researcher discovered that a vulnerability in Slack’s code would allow hackers to gain access to millions of users’ private conversations – a particularly sensitive potential exposure for some, given that Slack’s private channels are infamous for encouraging fierce workplace gossip.

Slack does not offer end-to-end encryption, so the contents of your communications may be retrievable if the firm receives an order from, say, an intelligence agency or law enforcement office. Martin Shelton, a data security researcher who works with at-risk groups, says that, although Slack may be the most user-friendly service of its kind, organizations seeking a higher level of security have other options. Semaphor, designed by the tech security firm SpiderOak, is a prominent alternative to Slack. Shelton recommends it as a “nice choice for an end-to-end encrypted chat,” but notes that its “user experience is a little clunky.”

Shelton also points to Mattermost, another potentially appealing chat application for organizations on perhaps the more established side. Like Signal, Mattermost’s code is open source, meaning that anyone can inspect its architecture for vulnerabilities.

“This is great because it’s regularly audited by security researchers,” Shelton says. “You can also host it on your own server, so you know where your data is located,” Shelton notes that this last feature can, however, mean a bit more work. “News institutions will need administrators who know what they’re doing to maintain the server,” Shelton says.

As the Electronic Frontier Foundation reminds us, good data security is a process, not just a series of products. The tools above only offer a start. Some commonly used digital security products that didn’t make the list also include email encryption – which can be a pain to set up but can ensure your encrypted emails are all but impenetrable – as well as secure and private web browsing with Tor and DuckDuckGo.

For more tools and a more detailed explanation of how to use them, take a look at the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Surveillance Self-Defense project and the Citizen Lab’s SecurityPlanner.org. Threats to journalists may be building, but, luckily, so are our defenses against them.

Categorized in Internet Privacy

 Source: This article was published searchengineland.com By R Oakes - Contributed by Member: Deborah Tannen

Ever wondered how the results of some popular keyword research tools stack up against the information Google Search Console provides? This article looks at comparing data from Google Search Console (GSC) search analytics against notable keyword research tools and what you can extract from Google.

As a bonus, you can get related searches and people also search data results from Google search results by using the code at the end of this article.

This article is not meant to be a scientific analysis, as it only includes data from seven websites. To be sure, we were gathering somewhat comprehensive data: we selected websites from the US and the UK plus different verticals.

Procedure

1. Started by defining industries with respect to various website verticals

We used SimilarWeb’s top categories to define the groupings and selected the following categories:

  • Arts and entertainment.
  • Autos and vehicles.
  • Business and industry.
  • Home and garden.
  • Recreation and hobbies.
  • Shopping.
  • Reference.

We pulled anonymized data from a sample of our websites and were able to obtain unseen data from search engine optimization specialists (SEOs) Aaron Dicks and Daniel Dzhenev. Since this initial exploratory analysis involved quantitative and qualitative components, we wanted to spend time understanding the process and nuance rather than making the concessions required in scaling up an analysis. We do think this analysis can lead to a rough methodology for in-house SEOs to make a more informed decision on which tool may better fit their respective vertical.

2. Acquired GSC data from websites in each niche

Data was acquired from Google Search Console by programming and using a Jupyter notebook.

Jupyter notebooks are an open-source web application that allows you to create and share documents that contain live code, equations, visualizations and narrative text to extract website-level data from the Search Analytics API daily, providing much greater granularity than is currently available in Google’s web interface.

3. Gathered ranking keywords of a single internal page for each website

Since home pages tend to gather many keywords that may or may not be topically relevant to the actual content of the page, we selected an established and performing internal page so the rankings are more likely to be relevant to the content of the page. This is also more realistic since users tend to do keyword research in the context of specific content ideas.

The image above is an example of the home page ranking for a variety of queries related to the business but not directly related to the content and intent of the page.

We removed brand terms and restricted the Google Search Console queries to first-page results.

Finally, we selected ahead term for each page. The phrase “head term” is generally used to denote a popular keyword with high search volume. We chose terms with relatively high search volume, though not the absolute highest search volume. Of the queries with the most impressions, we selected the one that best represented the page.

4. Did keyword research in various keyword tools and looked for the head term

We then used the head term selected in the previous step to perform keyword research in three major tools: Ahrefs, Moz, and SEMrush.

The “search suggestions” or “related searches” options were used, and all queries returned were kept, regardless of whether or not the tool specified a metric of how related the suggestions were to the head term.

Below we listed the number of results from each tool. In addition, we extracted the “people also search for” and “related searches” from Google searches for each head term (respective to country) and added the number of results to give a baseline of what Google gives for free.

**This result returned more than 5,000 results! It was truncated to 1,001, which is the max workable and sorted by descending volume.

We compiled the average number of keywords returned per tool:

5.  Processed the data

We then processed the queries for each source and website by using some language processing techniques to transform the words into their root forms (e.g., “running” to “run”), removed common words such as  “a,” “the” and “and,” expanded contractions and then sorted the words.

For example, this process would transform “SEO agencies in Raleigh” to “agency Raleigh SEO.”  This generally keeps the important words and puts them in order so that we can compare and remove similar queries.

We then created a percentage by dividing the number of unique terms by the total number of terms returned by the tool. This should tell us how much redundancy there are in the tools.

Unfortunately, it does not account for misspellings, which can also be problematic in keyword research tools because they add extra cruft (unnecessary, unwanted queries) to the results. Many years ago, it was possible to target common misspellings of terms on website pages. Today, search engines do a really good job of understanding what you typed, even if it’s misspelled.

In the table below, SEMrush had the highest percentage of unique queries in their search suggestions.

This is important because, if 1,000 keywords are only 70 percent unique, that means 300 keywords basically have no unique value for the task you are performing.

Next, we wanted to see how well the various tools found queries used to find these performing pages. We took the previously unique, normalized query phrases and looked at the percentage of GSC queries the tools had in their results.

In the chart below, note the average GSC coverage for each tool and that Moz is higher here, most likely because it returned 1,000 results for most head terms. All tools performed better than related queries scraped from Google (Use the code at the end of the article to do the same).

Getting into the vector space

After performing the previous analysis, we decided to convert the normalized query phrases into vector space to visually explore the variations in various tools.

Assigning to vector space uses something called pre-trained word vectors that are reduced in dimensionality (x and y coordinates) using a Python library called t-distributed Stochastic Neighbor Embedding (TSNE). Don’t worry if you are unfamiliar with this; generally, word vectors are words converted into numbers in such a way that the numbers represent the inherent semantics of the keywords.

Converting the words to numbers helps us process, analyze and plot the words. When the semantic values are plotted on a coordinate plane, we get a clear understanding of how the various keywords are related. Points grouped together will be more semantically related, while points distant from one another will be less related.

Shopping

This is an example where Moz returns 1,000 results, yet the search volume and searcher keyword variations are very low.  This is likely caused by Moz semantically matching particular words instead of trying to match more to the meaning of the phrase. We asked Moz’s Russ Jones to better understand how Moz finds related phrases:

“Moz uses many different methods to find related terms. We use one algorithm that finds keywords with similar pages ranking for them, we use another ML algorithm that breaks up the phrase into constituent words and finds combinations of related words producing related phrases, etc. Each of these can be useful for different purposes, depending on whether you want very close or tangential topics. Are you looking to improve your rankings for a keyword or find sufficiently distinct keywords to write about that are still related? The results returned by Moz Explorer is our attempt to strike that balance.”

Moz does include a nice relevancy measure, as well as a filter for fine-tuning the keyword matches. For this analysis, we just used the default settings:

In the image below, the plot of the queries shows what is returned by each keyword vendor converted into the coordinate plane. The position and groupings impart some understanding of how keywords are related.

In this example, Moz (orange) produces a significant volume of various keywords, while other tools picked far fewer (Ahrefs in green) but more related to the initial topic:

Autos and vehicles

This is a fun one. You can see that Moz and Ahrefs had pretty good coverage of this high-volume term. Moz won by matching 34 percent of the actual terms from Google Search Console. Moz had double the number of results (almost by default) that Ahrefs had.

SEMrush lagged here with 35 queries for a topic with a broad amount of useful variety.

The larger gray points represent more “ground truth” queries from Google Search Console. Other colors are the various tools used. Gray points with no overlaid color are queries that various tools did not match.

Internet and telecom

This plot is interesting in that SEMrush jumped to nearly 5,000 results, from the 50-200 range in other results. You can also see (toward the bottom) that there were many terms outside of what this page tended to rank for or that were superfluous to what would be needed to understand user queries for a new page:

Most tools grouped somewhat close to the head term, while you can see that SEMrush (in purplish-pink) produced a large number of potentially more unrelated points, even though Google People Also Search were found in certain groupings.

General merchandise   

Here is an example of a keyword tool finding an interesting grouping of terms (groupings indicated by black circles) that the page currently doesn’t rank for. In reviewing the data, we found the grouping to the right makes sense for this page:

The two black circles help to visualize the ability to find groupings of related queries when plotting the text in this manner.

Analysis

Search engine optimization specialists with experience in keyword research know there is no one tool to rule them all.  Depending on the data you need, you may need to consult a few tools to get what you are after.

Below are my general impressions from each tool after reviewing, qualitatively:

  • The query data and numbers from our analysis of the uniqueness of results.
  • The likelihood of finding terms that real users use to find performing pages.

Moz     

Moz seems to have impressive numbers in terms of raw results, but we found that the overall quality and relevance of results was lacking in several cases.

Even when playing with the relevancy scores, it quickly went off on tangents, providing queries that were in no way related to my head term (see Moz suggestions for “Nacho Libre” in the image above).

With that said, Moz is very useful due to its comprehensive coverage, especially for SEOs working in smaller or newer verticals. In many cases, it is exceedingly difficult to find keywords for newer trending topics, so more keywords are definitely better here.

An average of 64 percent coverage for real user data from GSC for selected domains was very impressive  This also tells you that while Moz’s results can tend to go down rabbit holes, they tend to get a lot right as well. They have traded off a loss of fidelity for comprehensiveness.

Ahrefs

Ahrefs was my favorite in terms of quality due to their nice marriage of comprehensive results with the minimal amount of clearly unrelated queries.

It had the lowest number of average reported keyword results per vendor, but this is actually misleading due to the large outlier from SEMrush. Across the various searches, it tended to return a nice array of terms without a lot of clutter to wade through.

Most impressive to me was a specific type of niche grill that shared a name with a popular location. The results from Ahrefs stayed right on point, while SEMrush returned nothing, and Moz went off on tangents with many keywords related to the popular location.

A representative of Ahrefs clarified with me that their tool “search suggestions” uses data from Google Autosuggest.  They currently do not have a true recommendation engine the way Moz does. Using “Also ranks for” and “Having same terms” data from Ahrefs would put them more on par with the number of keywords returned by other tools.

 SEMrush   

SEMrush overall offered great quality, with 90 percent of the keywords being unique It was also on par with Ahrefs in terms of matching queries from GSC.

It was, however, the most inconsistent in terms of the number of results returned. It yielded 1,000+ keywords (actually 5,000) for Internet and Telecom > Telecommunications yet only covered 22 percent of the queries in GSC. For another result, it was the only one not to return related keywords. This is a very small dataset, so there is clearly an argument that these were anomalies.

Google: People Also Search For/Related Searches 

These results were extremely interesting because they tended to more closely match the types of searches users would make while in a particular buying state, as opposed to those specifically related to a particular phrase. 

For example, looking up “[term] shower curtains” returned “[term] toilet seats.”

These are unrelated from a semantic standpoint, but they are both relevant for someone redoing their bathroom, suggesting the similarities are based on user intent and not necessarily the keywords themselves.

Also, since data from “people also search” are tied to the individual results in Google search engine result pages (SERPs), it is hard to say whether the terms are related to the search query or operate more like site links, which are more relevant to the individual page.

Code used

When entered into the Javascript Console of Google Chrome on a Google search results page, the following will output the “People also search for” and “Related searches” data in the page, if they exist.

1    var data = {};
2    var out = [];
3    data.relatedsearches = [].map.call(document.querySelectorAll(".brs_col p"), e => ({ query: e.textContent }));
4    
5    data.peoplesearchfor = [].map.call(document.querySelectorAll(".rc > div:nth-child(3) > div > div > div:not([class])"), e => {
6    if (e && !e.className) {
7    return { query: e.textContent };
8     }
9     });
10   
11    for (d in data){
12
13    for (i in data[d]){
14    out.push(data[d][i]['query'])
15     }
16
17    }
18    console.log(out.join(' '))

In addition, there is a Chrome add-on called Keywords Everywhere which will expose these terms in search results, as shown in several SERP screenshots throughout the article. 

Conclusion

Especially for in-house marketers, it is important to understand which tools tend to have data most aligned to your vertical. In this analysis, we showed some benefits and drawbacks of a few popular tools across a small sample of topics. We hoped to provide an approach that could form the underpinnings of your own analysis or for further improvement and to give SEOs a more practical way of choosing a research tool.

Keyword research tools are constantly evolving and adding newly found queries through the use of clickstream data and other data sources. The utility in these tools rests squarely on their ability to help us understand more succinctly how to better position our content to fit real user interest and not on the raw number of keywords returned. Don’t just use what has always been used. Test various tools and gauge their usefulness for yourself.

Categorized in Online Research

Online Methods to Investigate the Who, Where, and When of a Person. Another great list by Internet search expert Henk Van Ess.

Searching the Deep Web, by Giannina Segnini. Beginning with advanced tips on sophisticated Google searches, this presentation at GIJC17 by the director of Columbia University Journalism School’s Data Journalism Program moves into using Google as a bridge to the Deep Web using a drug trafficking example. Discusses tracking the container, the ship, and customs. Plus, Facebook research and more.

Tools, Useful Links & Resources, by Raymond Joseph, a journalist and trainer with South Africa’s Southern Tip Media. Six packed pages of information on Twitter, social media, verification, domain and IP information, worldwide phonebooks, and more. In a related GICJ17 presentation, Joseph described “How to be Digital Detective.” 

IntelTechniques is prepared by Michael Bazzell, a former US government computer crime investigator and now an author and trainer. See the conveniently organized resources in left column under “Tools.” (A Jan. 2, 2018, blog post discusses newly added material.)

Investigate with Document Cloud, by Doug Haddix, Executive Director, Investigative Reporters and Editors. A guide to using 1.6 million public documents shared by journalists, analyzing and highlighting your own documents, collaborating with others, managing document workflows and sharing your work online.

Malachy Browne’s Toolkit. More than 80 links to open source investigative tools by one of the best open-source sleuths in the business. When this New York Times senior story producer flashed this slide at the end of his packed GIJC17 session, nearly everyone requested access.

Social Media Sleuthing, by Michael Salzwedel. “Not Hacking, Not Illegal,” begins this presentation from GIJC17 by a founding partner and trainer at Social Weaver.

Finding Former Employees, by James Mintz. “10 Tips on Investigative Reporting’s Most Powerful Move: Contacting Formers,” according to veteran private investigator Mintz, founder and president of The Mintz Group.

Investigative Research Links from Margot Williams. The former research editor at The Intercept offers an array of suggestions, from “Effective Google Searching” to a list of “Research Guru” sites.

Bellingcat’s Digital Forensics Tools, a wide variety of resources here: for maps, geo-based searches, images, social media, transport, data visualization, experts and more.

List of Tools for Social Media Research, a tipsheet from piqd.de’s Frederik Fischer at GIJC15.

SPJ Journalist’s Toolbox from the Society of Professional Journalists in the US, curated by Mike Reilley. Includes an extensive list of, well, tools.

How to find an academic research paper, by David Trilling, a staff writer for Journalist’s Resource, based at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy.

Using deep web search engines for academic and scholarly research, an article by Chris Stobing in VPN & Privacy, a publication of Comparitech.com, a UK company that aims to help consumers make more savvy decisions when they subscribe to tech services such as VPNs.

Step by step guide to safely accessing the darknet and deep web, an article by Paul Bischoff in VPN & Privacy, a publication of Comparitech.com, a UK company that aims to help consumers make more savvy decisions when they subscribe to tech services such as VPNs.

Research Beyond Google: 56 Authoritative, Invisible, and Comprehensive Resources, a resource from Open Education Database, a US firm that provides a comprehensive online education directory for both free and for-credit learning options.

The Engine Room,  a US-based international NGO, created an Introduction to Web Resources, that includes a section on making copies of information to protect it from being lost or changed.

Awesome Public Datasets, a very large community-built compilation organized by topic.

Online Research Tools and Investigative Techniques by the BBC’s ace online sleuth Paul Myers has long been a starting point for online research by GIJN readers. His website, Research Clinic, is rich in research links and “study materials.”

Source: This article was published gijn.org

Categorized in Online Research

Search engines are an intrinsic part of the array of commonly used “open source” research tools. Together with social media, domain name look-ups and more traditional solutions such as newspapers and telephone directories, effective web searching will help you find vital information to support your investigation.

Many people find that search engines often bring up disappointing results from dubious sources. A few tricks, however, can ensure that you corner the pages you are looking for, from sites you can trust. The same goes for searching social networks and other sources to locate people: A bit of strategy and an understanding of how to extract what you need will improve results.

This chapter focuses on three areas of online investigation:

  1. Effective web searching.
  2. Finding people online.
  3. Identifying domain ownership.

1. Effective web searching

Search engines like Google don’t actually know what web pages are about. They do, however, know the words that are on the pages. So to get a search engine to behave itself, you need to work out which words are on your target pages.

First off, choose your search terms wisely. Each word you add to the search focuses the results by eliminating results that don’t include your chosen keywords.

Some words are on every page you are after. Other words might or might not be on the target page. Try to avoid those subjective keywords, as they can eliminate useful pages from the results.

Use advanced search syntax.

Most search engines have useful so-called hidden features that are essential to helping focus your search and improve results.

Optional keywords

If you don’t have definite keywords, you can still build in other possible keywords without damaging the results. For example, pages discussing heroin use in Texas might not include the word “Texas”; they may just mention the names of different cities. You can build these into your search as optional keywords by separating them with the word OR (in capital letters).

You can use the same technique to search for different spellings of the name of an individual, company or organization.

Search by domain

You can focus your search on a particular site by using the search syntax “site:” followed by the domain name.

For example, to restrict your search to results from Twitter:

To add Facebook to the search, simply use “OR” again:

You can use this technique to focus on a particular company’s website, for example. Google will then return results only from that site.

You can also use it to focus your search on municipal and academic sources, too. This is particularly effective when researching countries that use unique domain types for government and university sites.

Note: When searching academic websites, be sure to check whether the page you find is written or maintained by the university, one of its professors or one of the students. As always, the specific source matters.

Searching for file types

Some information comes in certain types of file formats. For instance, statistics, figures and data often appear in Excel spreadsheets. Professionally produced reports can often be found in PDF documents. You can specify a format in your search by using “filetype:” followed by the desired data file extension (xls for spreadsheet, docx for Word documents, etc.).

2. Finding people

Groups can be easy to find online, but it’s often trickier to find an individual person. Start by building a dossier on the person you’re trying to locate or learn more about. This can include the following:

  • The person’s name, bearing in mind:

    • Different variations (does James call himself “James,” “Jim,” “Jimmy” or “Jamie”?).
    • The spelling of foreign names in Roman letters (is Yusef spelled “Yousef” or “Yusuf”?).
    • Did the names change when a person married?
    • Do you know a middle name or initial?
  • The town the person lives in and or was born in.

  • The person’s job and company.

  • Their friends and family members’ names, as these may appear in friends and follower lists.

  • The person’s phone number, which is now searchable in Facebook and may appear on web pages found in Google searches.

  • Any of the person’s usernames, as these are often constant across various social networks.

  • The person’s email address, as these may be entered into Facebook to reveal linked accounts. If you don’t know an email address, but have an idea of the domain the person uses, sites such as email-format can help you guess it.

  • A photograph, as this can help you find the right person, if the name is common.

Advanced social media searches: Facebook

Facebook’s newly launched search tool is amazing. Unlike previous Facebook searches, it will let you find people by different criteria including, for the first time, the pages someone has Liked. It also enables you to perform keyword searches on Facebook pages.

This keyword search, the most recent feature, sadly does not incorporate any advanced search filters (yet). It also seems to restrict its search to posts from your social circle, their favorite pages and from some high-profile accounts.

Aside from keywords in posts, the search can be directed at people, pages, photos, events, places, groups and apps. The search results for each are available in clickable tabs.

For example, a simple search for Chelsea will find bring up related pages and posts in the Posts tab:

The People tab brings up people named Chelsea. As with the other tabs, the order of results is weighted in favor of connections to your friends and favorite pages.

The Photos tab will bring up photos posted publicly, or posted by friends that are related to the word Chelsea (such as Chelsea Clinton, Chelsea Football Club or your friends on a night out in the Chelsea district of London).

The real investigative value of Facebook’s search becomes apparent when you start focusing a search on what you really want.

For example, if you are investigating links between extremist groups and football, you might want to search for people who like The English Defence League and Chelsea Football Club. To reveal the results, remember to click on the “People” tab.

This search tool is new and Facebook are still ironing out the creases, so you may need a few attempts at wording your search. That said, it is worth your patience.

Facebook also allows you to add all sorts of modifiers and filters to your search. For example, you can specify marital status, sexuality, religion, political views, pages people like, groups they have joined and areas they live or grew up in. You can specify where they studied, what job they do and which company they work for. You can even find the comments that someone has added to uploaded photos. You can find someone by name or find photos someone has been tagged in. You can list people who have participated in events and visited named locations. Moreover, you can combine all these factors into elaborate, imaginative, sophisticated searches and find results you never knew possible. That said, you may find still better results searching the site via search engines like Google (add “site:facebook.com” to the search box).

Advanced social media searches: Twitter

Many of the other social networks allow advanced searches that often go far beyond the simple “keyword on page” search offered by sites such as Google. Twitter’s advanced search, for example, allows you to trace conversations between users and add a date range to your search.

Twitter allows third-party sites to use its data and create their own exciting searches.
Followerwonk, for example, lets you search Twitter bios and compare different users. Topsy has a great archive of tweets, along with other unique functionality.

Advanced social media searches: LinkedIn

LinkedIn will let you search various fields including location, university attended, current company, past company or seniority.

You have to log in to LinkedIn in order to use the advanced search, so remember to check your privacy settings. You wouldn’t want to leave traceable footprints on the profile of someone you are investigating!

You can get into LinkedIn’s advanced search by clicking on the link next to the search box. Be sure, also, to select “3rd + Everyone Else” under relationship. Otherwise , your search will include your friends and colleagues and their friends.

LinkedIn was primarily designed for business networking. Its advanced search seems to have been designed primarily for recruiters, but it is still very useful for investigators and journalists. Personal data exists in clearly defined subject fields, so it is easy to specify each element of your search.

You can enter normal keywords, first and last names, locations, current and previous employers, universities and other factors. Subscribers to their premium service can specify company size and job role.

LinkedIn will let you search various fields including location, university attended, current company, past company and seniority.

Other options

Sites like Geofeedia and Echosec allow you to find tweets, Facebook posts, YouTube videos, Flickr and Instagram photos that were sent from defined locations. Draw a box over a region or a building and reveal the social media activity. Geosocialfootprint.com will plot a Twitter user’s activity onto a map (all assuming the users have enabled location for their accounts).

Additionally, specialist “people research” tools like Pipl and Spokeo can do a lot of the hard legwork for your investigation by searching for the subject on multiple databases, social networks and even dating websites. Just enter a name, email address or username and let the search do the rest. Another option is to use the multisearch tool from Storyful. It’s a browser plugin for Chrome that enables you to enter a single search term, such as a username, and get results from Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Tumblr and Spokeo. Each site opens in a new browser tab with the relevant results.

Searching by profile pic

People often use the same photo as a profile picture for different social networks. This being the case, a reverse image search on sites like TinEye and Google Images, will help you identify linked accounts.

3. Identifying domain ownership

Many journalists have been fooled by malicious websites. Since it’s easy for anyone to buy an unclaimed .com, .net or .org site, we should not go on face value. A site that looks well produced and has authentic-sounding domain name may still be a political hoax, false company or satirical prank.

Some degree of quality control can be achieved by examining the domain name itself. Google it and see what other people are saying about the site. A “whois” search is also essential. DomainTools.com is one of many sites that offers the ability to perform a whois search. It will bring up the registration details given by the site owner the domain name was purchased.

For example, the World Trade Organization was preceded by the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trades (GATT). There are, apparently, two sites representing the WTO. There’s wto.org (genuine) and gatt.org (a hoax). A mere look at the site hosted at gatt.org should tell most researchers that something is wrong, but journalists have been fooled before.

A whois search dispels any doubt by revealing the domain name registration information. Wto.org is registered to the International Computing Centre of the United Nations. Gatt.org, however, is registered to “Andy Bichlbaum” from the notorious pranksters the Yes Men.

Whois is not a panacea for verification. People can often get away with lying on a domain registration form. Some people will use an anonymizing service like Domains by Proxy, but combining a whois search with other domain name and IP address tools forms a valuable weapon in the battle to provide useful material from authentic sources.

 Source: This article was published verificationhandbook.com By Paul Myers

Categorized in Investigative Research

This article will give you some insights on how to make your research process more effective using online research tools.

10 Awesome Online Research Tools 

Online learning has opened up the opportunity for many people to educate themselves, learn new skills, and earn college degrees even if they are not able to attend classes in a traditional sense of the word. Some just don’t have the time/money to move or commute to another city, or they work full time and have families, which means eLearning is their only option. As great as online learning is, it has several drawbacks. Obviously, it requires you to be online most of the time, which is fine, if you are doing research, writing, taking online tests, or attending your virtual classes.

But being online also makes you more prone to procrastination and distractions. There is also the issue of keeping all those gigabytes of research data organized and having hardware that’s powerful enough to enable real-time communication. These are just some of the issues eLearners face. Fortunately, there is something you can do to make your eLearning experience a lot more efficient and stimulating, especially the research part. We have prepared a list of 10 online research tools every online learner should master.

  1. Todoist.
    Research is a time-intensive activity, which means you will need a tool to organize both your professional and personal life. We advise you to give Todoist a shot. Todoist enables you to manage all of your projects and access them from any platform you own, including your desktop computer, laptop, or portable devices. You can share your tasks and collaborate with other people. Another clever feature is “karma” points, which are given to users if they are successful in assigning tasks to projects.
  2. EndNote.
    EndNote is a multi-functional research tool which helps you search for information in online databases and full texts based on abstracts, as well as manage and auto-complete all of your references. Like Todoist, EndNote also enables you to share your research data with your collaborators. If you prefer to work alone, you can do that too by saving, managing and tagging your research results for better access. Other features include bibliography maker that is capable of creating citations in over 6,000 styles, as well as automatic journal suggestion.
  3. EduGeeksClub.
    Every once in a while, you are going to come across an insurmountable obstacle while doing your research. Instead of giving up, you can turn to EduGeeksClub for professional research help. Get in touch with professional writers and researchers and learn all the ins and outs of thorough research. Also, you can commission a paper from them which you can then use as a resource for your essay, paper, or dissertation. They also provide editing and proofreading services.
  4. Zotero.
    Another essential tool all online learners should make use of is Zotero. Zotero integrates itself seamlessly into your browser and uses its clever ability to automatically recognize content for you. After that, all it takes for you to save it to your personal, fully searchable library, which is another feature in Zotero, in a single click. It supports audio and video files, PDF documents, as well as most image formats.
  5. RefWorks.
    RefWorks is a browser-based tool which has the ability to help learners find the right research data, organize it, store it, and easily share it with their colleagues and collaborators. All of that research information and written work needs to be supported by proper citations, and RefWorks generates those for you automatically, as well as bibliographies in every style. If you are not sure how to make use of its full potential, there are plenty of tutorials on how to do it, right there on the website.
  6. DataElixir.
    One of the best ways to keep up to date with all the latest news, developments and data in science is to find a website which curates all of those on a weekly basis. We recommend Data Elixir. Whether you’re an eLearner, a scientist, or a researcher, you benefit a lot for its weekly collection of all the best data resources and news, and you don’t even have to put in any effort whatsoever. You just have to subscribe to their free weekly newsletter and that’s it.
  7. Paperpile.
    Paperfile is a reference management software which, similar to Zotero, works as an extension for Google Chrome browser, making it accessible for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux users. We recommend that you use it to find and import data from platforms like Google Scholar, PubMed, or arXiv. You can easily export all the PDF documents and data to Google Drive, which means you’ll have the opportunity for collaborative editing of your papers. The collaboration doesn’t end there, because you can send data back and forth between Paperpile and Zotero, for example, as well as Mendeley.
  8. DeepDyve.
    High-quality research papers and scholarly journals can often set you back a pretty penny, so it’s important for you to know exactly what you’re getting for the money you’ve paid. The only trouble is, you are often allowed to look at an abstract for free, and decide if you want to buy the full-text paper, and then realize it’s of no use to you. DeepDyve enables you to access the full-text articles for a limited period of time, enough for you to figure out if the paper is exactly what you are looking for.
  9. ContentMine.
    ContentMine is an online resource which aims to bring over 100,000,000 scientific facts close to the people, by converting the collective knowledge of the world that is present in scientific literature into content which can be read on your computes. All of its tools, features, and services are free and open access. They often cite Wikipedia and similar open projects as a source of their inspiration.
  10. Plagiarism Checker.
    In order to rid your work of duplicate content, run it through Plagiarism Checker, which will scan and determine if there is any duplicate content present. If there is, you either need to provide better citations, or rewrite your work so that it’s more unique.

These 10 awesome online research tools will change the way you do research for good, and for the better, and your eLearning process will be made much more streamlined and efficient. In the end, that’s the thing that matters the most.

Source: This article was published elearningindustry.com By Antonio Tooley

Categorized in Online Research

DuckDuckGo launched Tuesday what CEO Gabriel Weinberg called in his blog SpreadPrivacy.com “fully revamped versions of our browser extension and mobile app” designed to block third-party trackers and to make the service easier to use on smartphones.

The updates offer “built-in tracker network blocking, smarter encryption, and, of course, private search” in Android, Chrome, Firefox, iOS, and Safari “with just one download,” Weinberg writes. DuckDuckGo promises not to store or sell user data, unlike Google and other marketing-advertising-data collection search engines and social media sites. Ads for companies like Expedia that pop up on its search and affiliate pages aren’t targeted to individual readers, the company says.

Search volume rose for the 10-year-old, Paoli-based internet search site last year before the mobile upgrades were announced. Still, DuckDuckGo, which employs 45, many of whom work remotely and through the GitHub software development platform, remains a very small fraction of the global search market, which is attractive to advertisers and other behavioral trackers who pay big bucks to know where our eyes go.

DuckDuckGo says it logged more than 16 million queries a day as of the past month, up from 12 million a year earlier. The engine’s share of the U.S. laptop/desktop search market rose to 0.25 percent in December, up from 0.16 percent a year earlier, according to NetMarketShare.com. (Google as of December held more than 70 percent of the laptop/desktop search market, China-based Baidu 15 percent, Microsoft’s Bing 8 percent, Verizon’s Yahoo 5 percent, Russia-based Yandex 1 percent, and Ask.com had slightly more than DuckDuck Go. Dogpile, AOL, and all others were smaller.)

But, despite European Commission for Competition chairman Margarethe Vesteger’s admission to Wired Magazine that she uses DuckDuckGo instead of Google on her own mobile phone to avoid snooping, its share of the mobile market has lagged, rising only to 0.09 percent from 0.06 percent last year. Weinberg hopes to capture more with the new tools.

DuckDuckGo is also rating websites, with school-style “Privacy Grades” from A to F. (Philly.com got a C grade on my DuckDuckGo phone extension; according to its tools, Amazon, Facebook, and Google were all “trying to track me” around the site; they were absent from several other news sites I checked using the app.)

Weinberg writes that DuckDuckGo is more private than Google’s “Incognito” option and simpler than other search services. “Google trackers [are] now lurking behind 76% of pages, Facebook’s trackers on 24% of pages, and countless others soaking up your personal information to follow you with ads around the web, or worse,” Weinberg added. “Our privacy protection will block all the hidden trackers we can find, exposing the major advertising networks tracking you over time, so that you can track who’s trying to track you.”

Source: This article was published philly.com By Joseph N. DiStefano,

Categorized in Search Engine
Page 1 of 3

AOFIRS

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.

Get Exclusive Research Tips in Your Inbox

Receive Great tips via email, enter your email to Subscribe.