Students in Research

Students in Research
Walk back the memory lane and try to recall how you were taught to use the dictionary. It was a step-by-step process, where you were taught how to look for the words in alphabetical order, in order to put the dictionary to efficient usage. Rare would 
have been a case where the heavy volume would’ve been dropped in the hands, left to figure out on your own, how to negotiate the zillion words.

In this highly digitized age, the answers to all questions can be traced to one source: Google. "Google it" ought to be among the list of most often used terms in the lingo of both youngsters and adults alike in the present generation.

With the advent of technology and the onset of the Internet, search engines like Google have emerged as a significant tool for researchers. In comparison to sifting through reams of material sitting in libraries, much information is available a click away. However, when we made this switch to internet-based resources, we somehow left a gap in education and hardly focused on learning how to find valid, credible, useful resources online. Sadly, though web searches have become an integral part of the academic research landscape, the art of the Google search is an increasingly lost one. Thus, students today use online resources in a way, we would have, had we not been taught the proper way to use a dictionary.

In fact, a study at Illinois Wesleyan University in 2011 found that fewer than 25% of students could perform a “reasonably well-executed search.” Moreover, the inappropriate usage of terms in the search box results in responses from, Yahoo Answers on the top as Google displays those URL's on top which receive the maximum number of hits. All of us are well aware that these are sites on which even a second grader can post an answer, thereby thwarting the purpose of an academic research.

Thus, it becomes all the more significant to equip students, in order to extract maximum potential from online resources. And one of the first steps should be to tutor students to use Google Docs for educational purposes. The purpose of Google is to make it easy to find whatever you’re seeking, whether it’s a web page, a news article, a definition, or something to buy. Literacy in digital searching can help us extract maximum benefits from this wonderful creation. Listed below are a few tips which can come in handy:

1) Selecting Search Terms-The search terms you enter and the order in which you enter them affect both the order and pages that appear in your search results.

2) I am Feeling Lucky- Click on the I’m Feeling Lucky button on Google’s home page to go directly to the first result for your query. Instead of showing you a list of pages, Google sends you immediately to the result that may be most relevant to your query.

3) Understanding how Google treats your search terms will help you devise effective queries and revise ineffective ones.

4) Stop Words- Common word such as the, on, where, how, de, la, as well as certain single digits and single letters are stop words and generally don't add meaning to a search. They appear on so many pages that searching for them usually doesn't help you find relevant results.

5) Crafting your query using special characters- By using special characters and operators, such as " ", –, ~, .., *, OR, and quotation marks around a phrase, you can fine-tune your search query and increase the accuracy of its results.

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