How to Search the Internet to find Information

Date:

March 21, 2022

Categories:

Reading Time: 6 minutes

If you aren’t familiar with how the internet works or the terminology used, finding information online can be frustrating. 

In this post find answers to questions like:

  • What are definitions of some of the most often used terms, such as browser, search engine, webpage, blog and others?
  • What are URL, https, .com and .org?
  • How do you make searching for something on the internet easier?
  • What if you know little or nothing about finding information online? 

The internet is a great place to learn. Even if you don’t know the exact web address of what you’re looking for, popular search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing put the contents of the internet at your fingertips.

When you go to your favorite search engine, you can type in whatever you’re looking for to get a quick list of credible results filtered from a massive online database. The results on the first few pages of your search are often the best places to look for the information you desire. Here are a few examples of phrases you can type in your search:

  • Pharmacy near me
  • Sugar-free dessert recipes
  • Handymen near Grand Prairie, TX

You can even ask questions like:

  • What is Parkinson’s Disease? 
  • What can I do to manage arthritis pain? 

Internet definitions to know

With internet usage comes a brand new way of speaking and a laundry list of new words to add to your vocabulary. Check out a few essential terms that can help you learn to use your computer more quickly and become an internet expert.

Blog: An internet journal or magazine by one or more writers (bloggers) that displays the latest posts first, short for “weblog.”

Browser: A web browser (also referred to as an Internet browser or simply a browser) is application software for accessing the World Wide Web or a local website.

Downloading: To move data from a different computer to your computer. Data could be videos, images, files and documents.

FAQ: A list of Frequently Asked Questions with answers.

Search engine: A webpage, such as GoogleYahoo and Bing, used specifically for searching the internet for information.

Social media: Websites or mobile phone applications, such as FacebookTwitter or YouTube, dedicated to information and content sharing between multiple people.

Uploading: To move data from your computer to another computer. Data could be anything from images and videos to large files.

Webpage: A single page on the internet, usually containing text, images or videos. If a website is an entire book, think of a webpage as a single page in that book.

Website: The location of a collection of related webpages, also commonly called a “site.” Think of a website like a book and the webpages as the book’s pages.

Reading an internet web address or URL

A web address or URL is just like it sounds: the address of something located on the web. Understanding the structure of a web address can help you quickly learn more about a website and the way the website is set up. Check out an example of a typical web address and what makes each part of it important.

Home

  • https:// – Stands for “hypertext transfer protocol secure” and helps your browser find a website. Don’t worry about adding this when typing in a web address as most browsers will automatically add it for you.
  • www. – Stands for “World Wide Web” and indicates that the website or page you’re looking for is located on the World Wide Web.
  • familycaregiversonline – The name of the website or page you’re searching for. In this example, we use “familycaregiversonline,” but this name can be anything from “Wallgreens” to “AARP” depending on your search.
  • .com – Tells you the type of website you’re viewing and where it is registered, also known as an “extension.” Can appear in any of the following ways:
    • .com for commercial website
    • .edu for educational institution website
    • .org for organization website; usually non-profit organizations
    • .gov for local, state or federal government-sponsored website
    • .net for a general, non-commercial, website

Helpful tools for internet education

If you’re feeling like the last person to learn about the internet, you’re actually one of many older adults looking to become better acquainted with this technology. Many assisted living communities and senior-focused organizations provide classes and guided learning that can help you learn with a group of your peers. Look out for these resources online or in your area.

  • AARP – This learning portal covers all things for life over 50, including computer tips. 
  • GCFLearnFree.org – This website has an entire Internet Skills section, covering different browsers, online safety, social media, email and Google. 
  • SeniorNet – Locate a SeniorNet learning center near you to learn more about computers and receive guided in-person tutorials. SeniorNet is based in Fort Myers, FL, and serves adults over 55 across the U.S.
  • Skillful Senior – This website is full of basic tutorials that will teach you everything from the proper computer posture to key positions on your keyboard.
  • TechBoomers – Browse more than 100 free courses to learn everything from data privacy to social media, and how to use popular websites and apps like Airbnb, Netflix and Skype. 
  • The Senior’s Guide to Computers – Computer-focused education with “simplified terms, examples, pictures and videos actually described in easy-to-understand English.” 
  • Webwise – Visit this online guide to brush up on your computer knowledge and view interactive tutorials.

Check with non-profit organizations in your community to see if they provide internet education or a place where you can practice using the internet around someone that can answer questions as you go, such as your local library.

Learning tips for internet beginners

  • Jot down a few of the terms above each week and read through them in your spare time. Writing down the meanings by hand can help you remember the words and quicken your internet education.
  • Find ways to relate complicated technical concepts with concepts that you already understand. For example, in the “internet,” “website” and “webpage” definitions, it helps to think of the internet as a massive library, a website as one of the books in the library and a webpage as a page in that book.
  • Make sure to actively use your internet-connected devices to practice what you’ve learned. Repetition will help you become acquainted with terms, technical commands and general use more quickly.
  • Ask a friend or family member for help. A younger member of your family is more likely to be familiar with the words and practices you’re learning and will go at a pace that’s right for you.

How to start searching

When it comes to starting a search, there are two common methods that are both easy to find and user-friendly.

Option 1: The homepage. Go to the search engine’s homepage, for example google.com, and type your search terms into the text box. To see your results, you can press the Enter key, or you can click the Google Search button, or click the search by voice icon!

Option 2: Your browser’s address bar. Depending on your browser, you may be able to conduct a search right from the browser’s interface. For example, in Chrome, you can enter your search term directly into the address bar. In Internet Explorer (pictured below), you can use either the address bar or the built-in search bar to start a search.

Search strategies

With a few basic search strategies, you can usually find almost anything you want. It doesn’t matter if you’re using Google or any other search engine because these techniques are effective no matter where you search.

  • Keep it simple: Make your searches brief by focusing on keywords, then keep the number of these keywords to a minimum. This way, you’re more likely to get relevant results.
  • Consider suggestions: As you enter your term, search engines will suggest the most popular results involving the term so don’t be afraid to select one, as they can often give you plenty of new ideas.
  • Use natural language: You don’t have to use complicated words or phrases to get results. Search engines can recognize the language you naturally use in your everyday life, so feel free to try whatever comes to mind.

Sources: Taylor Gadsen for AllConnect.com https://www.allconnect.com/blog/internet-basics-for-seniors

https://edu.gcfglobal.org/en/search-better-2018/introduction-to-searching-online/1/


We hope this information is helpful to you in the important work you do as a family caregiver.
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