Academic Research on the Internet : There Is a Better Way

Students nowadays start their research projects by looking up information on the web. And they are very right to do so, as there are libraries of useful information available. And the best thing about it is that the access is almost instant. With the plenty of articles, research reports, and statistics out there, a new challenge pops up: how do you find the really useful and relevant information among this never-ending abundance? These easy-to-use tips and tricks will greatly improve your online search speed and effectiveness.

Ready? Let's begin. While reading these lines, please glance over to the top right corner of your monitor. You see something like "Microsoft Internet Explorer", right? You probably know that more than 90% of the internet users browse the web with this browser that comes by default with every copy of Windows. But did you know that it is very inefficient for online search, causing billions of clicks to go down the drain every day? Luckily, there are other, better online research tools.

Please welcome Firefox to the scene, the speedy red-taled beast who can run circles around Internet Explorer. Firefox is the new web browser that is rapidly gaining popularity because of its intuitive and expandable search features.

If you haven't met FireFox already and don't know how to start, head over to Firefox download page to download and install a copy right now. Trust me, this is one piece of software you will not regret. All done? Alright...Let's tame the beast.

Look over to top right corner of your FireFox window. The input box with a big "G" is a built in gateway to search. What this means is that now you can search Google without having to go to the Google homepage every time. So what's the big deal about it, you ask? Well, if you search Google once a week, this may not be a big advantage, but if you are a serious internet researcher, you will save close to an hour of your time by the end of the week. Whenever you have a question, it now takes a zip to find the right answer. Not only this saves time, the built in search window is very convenient and comfortable way to search.

Ok, so now you know that you can search Google without actually going to the Google search page, but rather have the search results feed in to your window. Your not limited to Google search only, you can use other search engines and services as well. To see what I am talking about, click on the big "G" in the top-right text box. Did you see the drop down list? By default you can search Google, Yahoo, Amazon, Creative Commons,, and Ebay. Doesn't that make you feel like you are in control of the web?

To see just how useful this is, consider the following scenario. Say you have to do a research paper on greenhouse effect. Within 30 seconds you can know the term's definition on, find related articles on the web through Google, find books on related subject on Amazon, and look up available deals on this book on Ebay. Now imagine how much time it would take you to accomplish all that the old fashioned way.

Don't just jump in to using these tools thinking that you have all you need to be a super-efficient internet researcher because we have not tackled the best part yet! And the best part about the FireFox search feature is that you can add as many search services as you like. How would you like to be able to translate from one language to another, find comprehensive information on a movie or writer, get in-depth information on dozen of academic topics, see latest business headlines and tech news without ever having to go anywhere?

You can do all that by adding free search plugins to the FireFox' search box. To download and install them, go to search plugins page. You will see the search plugins categorized (i.e. Literature, Reference, Business and Economy and others). Click on the category you are interested in, then on the actual category plugins page, simply click on the search plugin you like. Now pull down the top-right search text box in FireFox. The new search plugin icon appears at the bottom of the list. See how easy it is?

By now you should be convinced that FireFox browser is the internet searcher's best friend. The research process for your college and university papers has just become easier.

Have fun surfing!

Jason McKormick is professional educator and an online education evangelist. He is the driving force behind Tailored Essays, custom essay writing service that helps students improve their analytical and writing skills.

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