Researching online is very convenient but a lot of information is of poor quality and unreliable. To help you tell the good content from the bad, here are a few things that you should ask yourse every time you visit a website.
Is it accurate and objective?
The author of the webpage should be clearly identifiable. Do they have any qualifications on the topic they are discussing? Remember that their opinion may be biased. Maybe do a search on the author to find out more about their background. It is always a good idea to cross reference the information that you have found with other websites.
Also, be aware of the difference between the ‘author’ and the ‘webmaster’.
Author – the individual who has written the article.
Webmaster – the administrator with responsibility for maintaining the website.
Is it authoritative?
Find out who published the website. Look at the domain name as this will help you identify whether the website is a recognised institution or not.
.gov = government
.edu = educational institution
.org = non-profit organisation
.com or .ie = commercial organisation
Is it current?
The date the website was updated is usually listed at the very beginning or end of the webpage, which will help you decide how current the information is.
When it comes to searching online, some search engines use a particular formula to read your command. One such format is called the Boolean Search. Many search engines use this format.
The name Boolean comes from mathematician George Boole (1815-1964) who came up with a method to express specific search queries by linking words together using Boolean Operators. The main Boolean operators are AND, OR, NOT. They are always written in CAPITAL LETTERS.
AND: When you place AND between two words it tells the search engine that you want all of these words in the results page. For example; Galway AND Ireland, would bring up only the webpages containing Galway and Ireland.
OR: If you put OR between your keywords, you are telling the search engine to give you results that will have either of these words or all of them. For example; cats OR felines would retrieve pages that contain the word cats OR felines OR both.
You can increase your search further by using a combination of Operators. For example; (cats OR felines) AND dogs, tells the search engine to look for pages containing the words ‘cats’ or ‘felines’ and that these pages had to include the word ‘dogs’.
NOT: By putting NOT in your search, you are asking the search engine to look up pages that contain one word but not the other e.g. recipes NOT desserts, is asking for web pages that contain recipes but not those for desserts.
You can also use the plus (+) and minus (-) signs between words instead of the Operators And or NOT e.g. recipes-desserts.
If you are looking for information on a particular subject but are unsure of how to phrase a keyword search, you can use a process known as ‘stemming’. For example, if you are looking for web sites on houses or housing, in the search box type hous*. This will bring up all the web pages containing house, houses, housing etc. Some search engines, such as Google, use automatic stemming – they will search for the search term as well as variants. For example, if you search for the term ‘Australia’ on Google, results may include the term ‘Australian’.
Donwload: LifeSteps Guide to Internet Basics
The Department of Social Protection manages a network of Intreo Centres, Local and Branch Offices, Employment Services Offices and offices administering Supplementary Welfare Allowance. Intreo is the single point of contact for all employment and income support services.
The Department’s website provides an Office Locator tool to help you find the branch nearest to you.
Skills to Work is an Irish Government jobs campaign, aimed at raising awareness of the five Government skills initiatives – Springboard, Momentum, JobBridge, JobsPlus and Skillnets. The supporting website provides a short questionnaire to help you decide which initiative best suits your needs as well as details of upcoming events.