Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Three Mistakes Students Make In Online Research

Whether it's a simple question or a complex research task, the first thing students do is turn to Google for help. They might type a query into a Google search or, increasingly, they'll speak their query into Google Assistant, Alexa, or Siri. That practice in itself can be a mistake. Here are three other mistakes that students often make when conducting research online.

1. Not asking the most qualified person for help!
Your school probably employs a teacher-librarian. He or she is there to help students utilize many different research techniques and many different databases. In many cases your school has access to materials and databases that cannot be accessed through just a generic Google search. So encourage your students to ask the teacher-librarian for help.

2. Not thinking about how other people think.
It is easy for students to fall into the trap of thinking about a topic in only the way that they describe it or how you've described it to them. Students should take some time to think about the similar words and phrases that other people might use to describe a topic.

3. Only looking on web pages or not opening files.
Google, Bing, and other commercial search engines tend to serve up HTML webpages as the first results. Occasionally, you'll find a PDF or Word document mixed in there too. If they never search for specific file types, students are potentially missing out on some great information. For example, if the topic is related to geography or geology, they might find a lot of value in refining the search to return only KML and KMZ files.

To learn more about search strategies that students should employ, join me on Thursday for a Practical Ed Tech webinar called Ten Search Strategies Students Need To Know.