Gradually, the internet has grown to become a key component for several projects, providing various opportunities in different ways to people around the world. People find it useful for entertainment and social purposes, but the internet also steps in for academic and scientific information.
More and more students and instructors now use the internet to create quality presentations, reports, do assignments, or for research purposes. However, since the steps and guides involved in doing these tasks using the traditional library research are different from the internet, several students have trouble with the research aspects.
Depending on your point of view, the internet has its glories and its weaknesses. As it proves to be a tremendous resource, if not well managed, researching may result in a waste of limited time.
Most printed resources in libraries have gone through proper evaluation by experts before publishing, whereas anyone can literarily put anything they want on websites without any screening or review process. This is why students need to carefully and critically consider a few things while using the internet for research.
Guidelines for researching with the internet
Compared to the systematically cataloged and cross-referenced content of the research libraries, the internet has no agreed-upon standard way of creating cross-references and identifying research subjects. The good thing is some guidelines can help you avoid several errors and problems.
Use other resources too:
While most students can complete their assignments using resources from the internet alone, we advise you also to get opinions from other sources. Instructors may expect you to cross-check the information obtained from the internet with library resources to ensure the materials are reliable.
Limit your search:
The internet provides lots of information. To avoid getting overwhelmed, narrow your research even before logging on at all. Keep the search limited to the exact topics you want to find. You can begin by forming short and direct questions that can keep the research concise.
Be familiar with your directories and search engines:
With several high-quality subject directories like Infomine and Academic info, you can find links to subject experts based on your needs. Google, Yahoo, Bing, and others are also excellent places to start your academic research.
These resources may require some learning, but for you get the most from them, you have to get familiar with them, know how they work, and know what to expect from them. Since each directory and search engine offer different functions, taking time to learn about these helps to avoid wasting time and getting frustrated while you do research work.
Keep track of the websites you need:
While doing research, you would visit some websites that are useful to your project and others that are not. It pays to maintain a detailed track record of these websites you need to save you from the time you spend on revisiting the other ones. You can either write down the URLs you find useful or bookmark them. Also, don’t forget to include the required references.
Double-check your recorded websites and references:
Web addresses can look complicated sometimes, so it’s easy to make mistakes. Double-check the URLs you put down for errors and typos. You can also type them into your browser to be sure they direct you to the correct sites.
Other tips for internet research
1. Be realistic: When researching your projects, being real about the task and the time it takes is essential. Sometimes students forget to include realities like sporting events, trips, and others while making plans for their project-work and end up undermining the time for research.
2. Generate specific search items or questions: Using keywords help to find your facts faster, and keeps you from randomly scrolling unrelated sites. Creating a list of possible site items helps to speed up the research. Searching with specific questions relating to the research topic is another way to keep the results focused on your needs.
3. Set time limits: The internet is vast. From clicking around to find a perfect site, it’s easy to develop interests in other topics asides the main one that you need. To keep concentrating on your research without losing track, set a time frame. It can encourage you to stay focused and limit the distractions.
4. Organize your research: Create a research file to keep your work in order, and use headings identifiable heading where you need to. This method of collection helps you to know the data where you already have enough information and the areas where more research is required.