Conducting Electronic Research

Blog Search

Blogs--short for Weblogs--are online journals that are updated by their authors on a regular, often daily, basis. They consist of chronologically ordered entries and, except for being shared with the public; they closely resemble a personal diary or journal. Typically, they include a title and a text message, but they can also include images, audio, video and other types of media. Many entries include links to other Web pages as well.

Many Blogs are specialized into subject matter or thematic categories; some are even instructional. Depending on the author's credentials and intent, these types of Web sites can often be useful sources for first-hand accounts, commentary and specialized information relevant to the issues or topics they address.

A number of search sites have been developed that concentrate specifically on searching the Blogosphere, as it has come to be known. Search engines like Google, Yahoo!, MSN Search and Ask.com are good starting points to begin looking for them, but here is a short list you may want to bookmark:

Steps of a Blog Search Using Google Blog Search

Step One

The following demonstration illustrates a search for Blogs dealing with conservation issues. In this case, the researcher uses the Google Blog Search engine. Feel free to click on Google and become the researcher yourself. The screen-shot below illustrates the home page.

Screen shot of Google Blog Search

At first glance, the Google homepage does not appear to have a Blog search button, however, if you click on the more category listed above the search field, you will easily find the Blog Search link which will take you to the page illustrated in the screen-shot below.

As you can see, Google Blog Search is one of the many search tools Google provides. Notice that you are offered two choices. You may either Search Blogs or Search the Web. The researcher has already entered the keyword conservation in the search field.

Screen shot of Google Blog Search

Step Two

The screen-shot below illustrates the results that appear in the browser window after the Search Blogs option has been selected.

Screen shot of Google Blog Search

Take a moment and study the page. There are over 305,000 Blogs dealing with conservation. The researcher may hone the search by selecting a time period as recent as the last hour from the list on the left or, opt to be more specific and conduct an Advanced Blog Search as illustrated in the screen-shot below.

Screen shot of Google Blog Search

Step Three

As you can see, the researcher has restricted the parameters, or boundaries, of search. The new results appear in the screen-shot below. Notice the Advanced Blog Search retuned only 102 Weblogs, a manageable number that can be more easily examined for their value as potential sources.

Screen shot of Google Blog Search

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Introduction