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How Students Can Improve their Online Research Skills

Online Research Skills
Image Source: American Psychological Association

There are many educational benefits to searching online. According to one study, students who employed advanced search strategies at university also scored higher on their exams. But more time spent online doesn’t mean you’ll become better at using the internet. When you receive explicit instruction and guidance, you are more likely to succeed when searching online.

It is common for teachers not to teach students explicitly how to search online. Most students prefer to teach themselves rather than ask for help. The result is that students do not get the necessary research skills. For young people to maximize their online search experience, here are skills they should keep in mind.

Annotating On the Go

Annotated bibliographies are still helpful even if you don’t have to write them. As part of your research, you will need to browse tens or even hundreds of pages on different online research sites. Thus, you won’t remember the topic and location of each source you selected.

Here’s how to simplify it:

  • Make a file that contains links to your resources and their brief descriptions, like the author, topic, key points, and URL

Here’s how this will help you. It will:

  • Keep your research organized and focused
  • Simplify your entire writing process
  • Help you with the creation of your bibliography

Identifying Reliable Sources

The internet is full of garbage. It allows anyone to publish anything. So, where can you find reliable sources within it? You can start your search with your school’s library search engine. Library resources that have been peer-reviewed and scientifically validated should already be in your school’s library index. You can confirm a source’s trustworthiness using a regular search engine.

You can use reliable tools from websites like Studocu, which provides excellent study books and materials from several universities. If it’s a public or non-profit organization, you can determine that. Find out if the website is a private business. Though the information may still be helpful, be aware of how they may present it to benefit their businesses. 

Watching YouTube Videos

YouTube has more to offer for your college studies than cats and fails compilations. There are many video-sharing websites, but YouTube is the most popular. Additionally, it is an excellent educational resource. Learning how to properly search and filter the vast library of videos is just a matter of learning how to use it successfully.

Moreover, you find helpful links included in the description of the videos uploaded by their authors or uploaders. The site provides a lot of learning opportunities, particularly for visual learners.

Online Research Tips For Better, Faster Results

You can always learn something from conducting research online, whether you are a novice or have been doing it for years. Keeping that in mind, here are some tips for conducting high-quality research online.

Keep Yourself Organized

Because of the internet, research stakes have entirely changed. You can do almost as much research as you want. Because of this, you must devise a system for identifying what information you’ll look at and where and how you’ll store it. 

To stay organized, try these tips:

  • Create Google Drive folders for storing PDFs and other documents
  • Manage websites and URLs in your Bookmarks folder
  • Organize extensive research, use a reference management program 

Identify the Information Needed

The internet is an excellent source of information, but it’s easy to get lost. As a result, you may end up chasing rabbit holes or answering new questions every time they emerge. Either way, you lose focus on the questions you were trying to answer. Therefore, defining those questions and holding yourself accountable for researching the answers is crucial. 

Identify Your Research Goals

What will you do with the answers you receive to the above questions? It would be best if you used your online research to answer questions that aid you in deciding or choosing your next step. In competitive analysis, you may look for niche audiences within your industry to target.

Check the Abstract First

The literature you use, scientific papers, medical studies, legal reviews, or other reliable tools will be dense and lengthy. Therefore, reading the abstract before committing to anything is a good idea. You can safely skip a paper whose abstract does not pique your interest.

Conclusion

The internet has several helpful study resources for students to use. However, finding the right, reliable information is always a challenge. Therefore, students can use the above methods and tips to improve their online research skills.

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