The two search engines I used for my site assessment were google.com and yahoo.com. Although I do not have an extensive amount of experience using various search engines, I have used these two in the past based on feedback and experience from my colleagues. They have said these two search engines have provided them with the most extensive and accurate information. But they also did warn me about the amount of junk that can still end up on these sites like any other search engine. The topic I chose to perform a search on was asthma treatment. Both sites provided me with a large amount of sites for review. I then used both search engines advanced search capabilities, with the exact words and narrowed down the amount significantly as listed below.
Search engine Basic Search Advanced Search
The most effective sites I found from google.com were:
The most ineffective sites I found from google.com were:
The most effective sites I found from yahoo.com were:
The webmd site gave me some nice research on inhaled steroids. They also provided me with a reputable resource in finding additional information on the topic I chose. The next two sites I used from google.com were also very informative on asthma and the way it is treated. They also provided me with background information on asthma as a disease and its effects on the body.
The three sites from yahoo.com were very helpful in providing me with extensive information on asthma as well. There was definite overlap on information from the different websites. But that also gives me some more confidence in the accuracy of such information since it is coming from several sources.
The three ineffective websites from google.com were in the form of drug companies trying to advertise their product or a site with minimal information that I could potentially use. The advertisements are annoying because they distract you from what is important. They can also be very deceiving to a new or inexperienced user.
After reviewing some of the different links from the searches, I found most of the links led me to the same websites as the other engines did. However, some did send me to better sites for information. Yahoo gave me a large amount of sites to look at, but some of them were not very helpful. I found Google to be the best for this particular search. This may be influenced on the fact that I have used it the most out of all of the earch engines available. I also notice though if I did not do an advanced search, using exact words, as a filter, I would have had a larger amount of material to go through. I have found using the advanced search to be extremely helpful in sorting out a lot of the information that I am not looking for.
I searched various links from both search engines, using the top 200 and the bottom 50 sites, in both cases. Based on the searches I found a significant amount of information on my topic. It can be extremely hard to find what you are looking for at times. It takes time and patience to sift through the different links and determine if it is what you are looking for.
The reason why I chose the respective sites to be the most effective in my search from each search engine is because the information was detailed and they provided me with some background as to where they obtained their information. Accuracy of the information is one of the most important tasks to remember, because you want to be clear and not misleading when teaching your students. A site may appear to be genuine only to find out they just wrote an extremely well written article or presentation with nothing to substantiate their finds. A lot of the links provided me with repeat information that I could find on another site, but maybe not as clear or detailed.
The sites I found from google.com provided me with a significant amount of background information on asthma and the treatment of the disease. The sites from yahoo were more technical and research based in origin and detailed, providing me with a lot of research and facts behind the disease process and how the treatments work. All of the sites provided me with an overlap of information in many areas, but it was interesting to see the slight variations in their presentation of the information. Both search engines were extremely helpful in obtaining information. The user has to be able to sort through the information and use what they feel is appropriate. All search engines have some kind of a filter, some better than others in making sure the information is good. But in many cases, there is no real good way of preventing everything from showing up on the search if the author tries hard enough to get around it.
The sites I chose to be the most ineffective were not actually from the bottom 50 or from bad links. The sites I chose to be the worst were the ones that looked like they may give me good information, but gave me the least and were trying to sell their product more than anything else. I chose them because I felt in many ways, they were misleading and I could have spent that time in a more effective manner in my research. These sites appear to have good solid information on the subject, but were more interested in telling me how effective their product was and why I should use or buy it. After completing the project, I realized I probably could have used some of the bottom 50 or probably more as my worst because they had the least relevance and came back with nothing or was a bad link. At least if it were a bad link, I would not have spent any time looking through it.
Both search engines had a significant amount of advertisements, which was a little annoying, but they have to pay their bills too. Many of the sites were looking to advertise their medications for the treatment of asthma more than telling me about the way the treatment works. Like anything else when you are doing research, you will have to sort through it and find the information that is accurate and current. I also found some of the links to not work or bring you to places you are not looking for, which can be tedious. The short caption included with the link is a little helpful in assisting you in finding the proper information. I rejected a large amount of sites based on their initial presentation of the material.
My best suggestion when using the internet for information is to use at least two or more different search engines to provide you with a variety in resources. Use the different filters they have available to assist you in sorting out the information you are looking for. I found exact words or phrase to be extremely helpful in decreasing the amount of sites I found. Another item is to make sure your search words or phrase is not too limiting. Also try using a different phrase or set of words on the same topic to see what is available.
Once you have the different sites, go through them looking for where they obtained their information and is there any backing behind what they did. If not, then chances are, the site is not reliable and your information will not be accurate. Also, try to find the same information in a different site or research project to confirm the validity of their findings. This will make the information you provide to your students to be accurate and clearly informative.