Global Schoolhouse Home Home Base: Harnessing the Power of the WebIntro to NetPBL: Collaborative Project-Based LearningBuilding Collaborative Student Web ProjectsGuide to Conducting Research on the InternetLibrary of References, Readings and ResourcesTable of Contents
Introduction to Searching the Internet
Information Resources
Human Resources
Mailing Lists
Organizing Messages
Digital Resources
Topic-Oriented Research Directories
Search Engines
Primary Document Resources
1. Friends & Acquaintances
2. Academia
3. Government
4. Direct Approach
5. Soliciting Help Through E-mail
6. Search Tools for Finding People

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 work.

Let's work through an example

  1. We decide to start with Hotbot ( Live Internet Connection Required). 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.
  2. 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 text.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Section: E-mail
Page 1: Friends & Acquaintances
Page 2: Academia
Page 3: Government
Page 4: Direct Approach
Page 5: Soliciting Help Through E-mail
Page 6: Search Tools for Finding People

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