Develop strategies and tools for navigating an online environment ethically.

Digital Literacy

Tips for searching


  • Select important words in your questions
  • Brainstorm other words that mean the same thing
  • Check your spelling!
  • Use speech marks to group words together, e.g. match fixing
  • Use + before very important words, e.g. “match fixing” +cricket
  • Use advanced search options to narrow your search. Refine your search by date, country, language, or other criteria.
  • Use wild card to search for all spellings/endings of a word, e.g. gambl* will find gamble, gambler, gambling
  • Be as specific as possible eg Labrador rather than Dogs

Example: What percentage of Australia’s electricity comes from wind power?
Keywords might be: wind, power, Australia, electricity

Searching the webpage – use Ctrl+F 

  • Once you’ve found a webpage that looks useful, use the Search window on the
    webpage, or press CTRL+F to open the FIND box.
    Type the word or phrase you are looking for and then press ENTER.
    Click the Highlight All Matches button to show or hide all matches on the page.
    To filter the matches, press Options, and then click one or both of the following:
    -Match Whole Word Only.
    -Match Case.
    Click Next or Previous to move from one matched word or phrase to another

Set a time limit for your search then change tactics/ try a different search engine

Domain Names

  • .com or ⇒ generally used by businesses – they want to sell stuff!
  • .org ⇒ used for non-profit organisations – may come with a bias for their cause
  • .edu ⇒ used by universities and institutes of higher learning – check what the institute is, may also have a bias towards certain issues
  • .gov or .govt ⇒ used for government sites – purpose & point of view need to be established, is it propaganda?
Using your Information literacy skills to create your keywords and the previous tips for searching online, databases are where you can gain excellence for your research topic.

We recommend you use Epic Databases and follow this guide to choose an appropriate database for your subject area eg.Epic database subject guide for schools

If you have trouble with using the databases book some time with a librarian or ask your teacher for some help.



  • How recent is the information?
  • How recently has the website been updated?
  • Is it current enough for your topic?


  • What kind of information is included?
  • Is the content largely fact or opinion? Is it balanced? Are stereotypes and generalisations prevalent?
  • Are sources of data acknowledged?
  • What are the details of the data sample?
  • Are opinions or quotes referenced?


  • Who is the author? Are there several authors? What are their credentials?
  • Where was it produced? Which country?
  • Age of author? Age of event? Is it first-hand experience?
  • Who is the publisher or sponsor? Are they reputable?


  • Is this fact or opinion?
  • Is it biased? Is there an ulterior motive?
  • Which medium was selected to present this information?
  • Who is the target audience? Is it relevant to yours?
  • What is the author’s purpose for publishing?