4. Direct Approach
Sometimes it is better to take the direct
approach and search the entire Internet for your topic. Although this technique may take
you less time to find e-mail addresses, you will have to spend some extra time evaluating
the person and his or her resource to assure their expertise.
You start with a search engine to find
web sites about your topic, monarch butterflies. Then you must evaluate the sites for
evidence of authority, and finally e-mail your questions to the person responsible for the
Let's work through an example
- We decide to start with Hotbot (www.hotbot.com ). I know there will
be a lot of pages on monarch butterflies done by classrooms, Boy Scout troops, and many
other people and groups who are not necessarily authorities on the subject. I choose Hotbot
because of a particularly useful feature. Here, we can indicate that we only want to
find web pages with .edu in the domain, meaning only web sites from university
servers. This should filter out a lot of the less authoritative resources.
- Next we type in monarch butterflies
and select Exact Phrase so that the search engine will seek our
butterfly, rather than pages with the words butterfly and monarch someplace/anyplace in
- The 4th site found by my search is
entitled Monarch Butterflies and the description begins with:
I have been conducting research on monarch butterflies, Danaus
plexippus, in California for over 10 years.
- The seventh site that shows up from our
search links to a web page about the Monarch (Danaus plexippus). This page also
includes an e-mail address for a professor at Texas A&M University.