The Student Nurse's Guide To The Internet!            Spring Semester, 2013
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Doing Research on the Search Engines
by Bob Paton

There are thousands of nursing websites on the internet. The amount of information available on these websites is staggering, and the internet is a great resource tool for research. Unfortunately, sorting through these websites to find the exact information you are looking for can be time consuming and difficult. Search Engines can be your best tool for doing research on the web, but you need to learn a few "power tips" to make the most of your searches.

 
 

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One key concept to understand is that there are two main types of search tools; Directories and Search Engines.

Directory

Search Engine

A directory takes you to the home page of a website. From there you can explore to get to the information you want eventually. A search engine takes you to the exact page on which the words and phrases you are looking for appear.
Use a directory when you have only a vague idea of what you want and when you would appreciate prompts to guide you along. Use a search engine when your goal  is to get to a particular piece of information quickly.
When you want to find a great nursing site or a site devoted to your favorite kind of music, use a directory. When you want to know what song or movie a particular phrase is from, use a search engine.
Use a directory to get a list of major newspaper sites. Use a search engine to find a quote from a newspaper column, even when you don't know the name of the columnist or the paper.
Use a directory for the kinds of things you'd expect to find in the Yellow Pages -- for businesses of certain kinds when you may not know their names. Use a search engine for information about a particular product when you know the product name and model number, but not necessarily the manufacturer.
Use a directory when you are in the mood to surf -- to go on a fun trip around the Web with no particular destination in mind, just following your impulses. Use a search engine when you are serious or when you have limited time to find what you want.
Use a directory when you are looking for a site devoted to a celebrity. Use a search engine when you are searching for an ordinary person by name.
Use a directory to find cooking-related sites. Use a search engine to find a particular recipe, by name or by ingredients.
Use a directory to get a list of  schools of nursing in Massachusetts. Use a search engine to find a particular paper written by a professor of nursing at the University of Massachusetts.
Use a directory to see a list of sites devoted to alternative medicine or to cancer. Use a search engine to learn more about a medicine your doctor just prescribed for you.
Use a directory to get a list of job-related Web sites. Use a search engine to find the resume of a job candidate with the credentials and experience you want.
Use a directory to find Web sites dedicated to discussions of great literature. Use a search engine to find a particular passage in a particular classic work and perhaps the complete text of that book.
Use a directory to find sites devoted to buying and selling cars. Use a search engine to find a page that talks about how to deal with the problems you've been experiencing with your 1969 Mustang.
Use a directory to find sites that deal with Windows-based software. Use a search engine to find out the meaning of a particular error message you've been getting.
Use a directory to find travel guides. Use a search engine to find the schedule for special trips on steam-engine-powered trains in South Africa.
Use a directory to find Web sites devoted to legal questions related to protection of information property rights. Use a search engine to find instances of plagiarism of your writing on the Web.
Use a directory to find Web sites devoted to trademark information. Use a search engine to find out if a particular name, with unique capitalization, which you'd like to make a trademark, is already in use on the Web.
Use a directory to build a media contact list. Use a search engine to track down a particular reporter.
Examples of directories are Yahoo, AOL Search, and Netscape Search. Search Engines include Alta Vista, although many search sites offer both a directory and a search function as alternatives to its main search feature.

TIPS ON SEARCHING