By Edward Singleton
In an age where information is instantaneous, thanks to Google and other search engines, students need to develop better research habits to ensure the information they share is accurate.
The problem is, students enter a search on Google and usually fall for the top search results. This practice leads to biased, inaccurate or outdated information being shared. Whether a company paid more to have its information ranked “top hit” and if the person sharing the information is even qualified to write on the subject, should always cross a researcher’s mind.
While taking a speech class, I noticed many of my peers were giving information that was either completely incorrect or grossly outdated. Anything more than two years old should be considered old news when considering the hyper-connected state of the Internet as it is today. The implication of sharing false information is simple, people won’t know the truth.
While going to library and digging through tons of books is a method of getting accurate research information, other—more practical and time saving—methods exist. Listed below are some very useful websites that graduate and undergraduate students alike are using to get some serious and accurate research done.
Academicinfo.net is a site that returns academic information and academia based blogs. Education.iSeek.com is designed for teachers and students that want realiable information. RefSeek.com is an academia based search engine in returns government, military and education sites. Digital Library of the commons, is a project sponsored by the University of Indiana which brings together international articles into a common database.
If a student researcher wanted to search multiple search engines at once, Dogpile.com and MetaCrawlerWeb.com would be best. These sites search through Google, Yahoo, Bing and more to find the most relevant material.
Google definitely has it benefits. It’s fast, it’s vast and it has been adopted by many as “the site for knowledge.” The take away message I would like to leave student researchers is that we shouldn’t put all our eggs in one basket, especially when that basket has a sponsor.
Alternatives to unbiased, unpaid for information exists and in order to truly gain perspective students should use as many avenues possible. For more information on alternative web sites for academic purposes visit OnlineUniversities.com