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The Essential Guide to Using the Web for Research

The Essential Guide to Using the Web for Research

October 2011 | 256 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
This book will be vital reading for anyone doing research, since using the web to find high quality information is a key research skill. It introduces beginners and experts alike to the most effective techniques for searching the web, assessing and organising information and using it in a range of scenarios from undergraduate essays and projects to PhD research.

Nigel Ford shows how using the web poses opportunities and challenges that impact on student research at every level, and he explains the skills needed to navigate the web and use it effectively to produce high quality work.

Ford connects online skills to the research process. He helps readers to understand research questions and how to answer them by constructing arguments and presenting evidence in ways that will enhance their impact and credibility.

The book includes clear and helpful coverage of beginner and advanced search tools and techniques, as well as the processes of:

@!critically evaluating online information

@!creating and presenting evidence-based arguments

@!organizing, storing and sharing information

@!referencing, copyright and plagiarism.

As well as providing all the basic techniques students need to find high quality information on the web, this book will help readers use this information effectively in their own research.

Nigel Ford is Professor in the University of Sheffield's Information School.

Why Read This Book?
The Book's Underlying Rationale
Search Tools Covered in this Book
Learning and Critical Thinking: The Essentials
Learning and Assessment Basics
Essential Learning Components
Clarifying What Is Required of You
Clarifying the Nature of your Assignment
Planning your Assignment
Finding High-Quality Information
Defining 'Authoritative' Information
Information Seeking
How to Do a Literature Review
Initial Explorations
Strategies for Finding High-Quality Academic Sources
Information Sources and Search Tools
Types of information source
Types of search tool
Mapping Search Approaches and Techniques to Information Needs
Directory-Based Browsing and Searching
Topic Similarity Searching
Document Similarity Searching
Citation Searching
Boolean and Other Advanced Search Engine Operators
Scholarly Search Tools in Detail
When to Use Which Search Tools
Google Scholar
SciVerse Scopus
Web of Knowledge Incorporating Web of Science
Transforming Information into Evidence-Based Arguments
Making Information 'Your Own'
Critically Evaluating Information
Validity, Reliability, Objectivity and Generalisability as Critical Tools
Developing Your Own Evidence-Based Arguments
Presenting Your Evidence Effectively
Citing Your Sources
Keeping up to Date
A New Document is Published on your Topic
Documents in Which You Are Interested Are Cited in a Newly Published Document
An Author is Cited by a New Document or Publishes a New Document
A New Issue of a Journal in which you are Interested is Published
A website in Which You Are Interested is Updated
Organizing and Sharing Your Information
Mendeley Basics
Importing Data from Google Scholar and Other Search Tools
Adding PDF Files to Your Library
Inserting References into Your Work

Well structured, thorough, accessibly written and presented, Nigel Ford uses lots of charts, diagrams and step-by-step guides to steer the reader... It is primarily targeted at undergraduate and postgraduate students who will definitely find it invaluable when setting out on their dissertations and theses...That said, this guide will prove equally useful for professional researchers in any field...Overall I consider this a very useful and timely book. Indeed I wish I'd seen it many years ago. Its key strengths are its pertinence to researchers' current needs, thoroughness, detailed discussions, accessibility, step by step approach and supply of handy techniques and tips.
Berni Graham
SRA News


Ford offers the answers to the question of how to find interesting web material for your research and it is clear that here is where Ford’s expertise comes through. Personally, I use mainly Google, Picarta and some catalogues of universities and research institutions. Ford offers a number of additions to my repertoire. In addition to Google, he includes SciVerse Scopus and Web of Knowledge and advises that a systematic search strategy should constantly be evaluated and, if necessary, adjusted.

Raynald Bosch
KWALON Journal

An excellent text which gives researchers the theory of research design and the knowledge and insight to be able to practice and master the skills. This is an essential read for any researcher looking to use the internet for primary, secondary or tertiary study.

Mr Paul Matthews
School of Hospitality, Tourism & Events, University College Birmingham
February 23, 2016

I would recommend this book to my Master as well as to my PhD students as an essential guide for systematic research using the Web.

Professor Alfred Zimmermann
Faculty of Informatics, Reutlingen University of Applied Sci
May 26, 2015

Great text to accompany composition courses. It asks good questions about our uses and understandings of the internet in relation to writing.

Dr AmberNicole Pfannenstiel
English Dept, Northern Arizona University
April 6, 2015

This book provides a detailed and thorough guide for structuring diploma projects at any level. It would also be helpful for semester research projects in cases where the students are proficient users of English.

Ms Shala Barczewska
Institute of Foreign Languages, Uniwersytet Jana Kochanowskiego w Kielcach
September 25, 2014

Excellent addition for supplementary reading.

Mr Martyn Jarvis
Faculty of Business and Society, Department of Law, Accounting and Finance, Univ. of South Wales
June 27, 2014

This book could be useful to prepare the syllabus but not as an essential reading for the students. We are not improving practical skills but a critical knowledge about limits and opportunity offered by the web for research.

Dr Valentina Bazzarin
Social and Political Sciences, University of Bologna
June 3, 2014

A very good text that helps students develop digital literacy skills empowering them to critically select appropriate material via the internet. Highly recommended

Mr Stuart Agnew
Social Science , University Campus Suffolk Ltd
July 14, 2013

Easy to read and very comprehensive.

Ms Victoria Heywood
Scarborough School of Education, Hull University
December 11, 2012

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter Two

For instructors

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ISBN: 9780857023650
ISBN: 9780857023643

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