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MCM 151 - Media & Society -- Ri

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Research Sources

Reference resources can help you get an overview of a topic. They also give you an idea of key terms associated with a topic that can help you with further searching.


Another place to search for needed information is simply to 'Google it.' Again, it is important to think about what results you are finding: Who is the author or sponsor, why is the information being published? Is there obvious bias? How authoritative is the source you find?

Google gives you so many results it is difficult to know which ones are useful or reliable. Articles rise to the top of a search based on the number of times they are clicked on; this might not be the best way to choose what will be most important for your search.

However, Google does allow several ways for you to target your results. If you implement some of the following techniques, you will find that you can leverage the power of Google to help you find important results for your project or paper. Try out some of the tips below.

Get the most out of your Google search -- SITE Searching 

One way to target results in Google is to employ the site search. This requires you use a specific phrase before adding search terms to tell Google you only want results from a specific website or domain. The search always begins with site + colon + URL or Domain all without any spaces; next, add a space and insert your search terms. See the examples below - 

  • misinformation AND social media  This search phrase tells Google that you'd like results from the New York Times website that mentions misinformation and social media together in articles.  **Using a site search is one of the best ways to search for articles on a given topic in the New York Times**  You can use the Tools link to limit the date range. Here the search has been limited to 2016-2022.
  • site:gov vaccine misinformation AND 'social media' This search phrase tells Google you'd like to see articles, reports, etc., from government websites concerned with misinformation about vaccines and social media. Because we want Google to search social media as a phrase, it's important to put the two words in quotes. [This search is limited to the period 2019-2022]
  • site:edu misinformation AND 'social media'  This search phrase tells Google to retrieve articles published by or in educational institutions that explore the topic that examines social media and misinformation. 
Other search tips in Google
  • Limit the date of your results by inserting the phrase after + colon + year or date  without any spaces
    • after:2019 travel restrictions COVID-19  This phrase tells Google that you'd like all your results to have been published after 2019 (note: the after + colon + date phrase can come before or after your search terms)
    • You can also limit your results to a given date range by clicking on Tools under the search bar, and then Any Time under that.
  • Search for an exact phrase by putting a phrase in quotes when entering it in the search bar, e.g., "climate change" or "carbon footprint" -- using the quotes will ensure you retrieve results with that exact phrase.

Evaluating Information