5 Online Research Skills Every Student Needs to Have


Nowadays, online research is inevitable as most academic sources are found on the internet. Spending a lot of time online does not guarantee a student better results. Therefore, one needs to develop online research skills to ensure they properly utilize the internet for their educational benefits.

Not every piece of information found on the web should be put on paper, and you must also be aware of click baits to avoid falling prey to sites that only need clicks and traffic on their page. Therefore, it is best to discern which site is helpful to you before picking any information from the website. Here are some research skills that will make your work easier when using the internet. 

Evaluating Sources 

Evaluating online sources helps students identify accurate and appropriate information needed for their research work. You will need to refer to authentic sources for your research papers and assignments. Thus, you should evaluate sources to determine their credibility. You do not want to fill your work with irrelevant information from an unknown source.

Some evaluations include checking when the information was last updated, whether the site requires too much personal information, and whether the information is from a trusted source or an expert. 

Asking Direct Questions 

Most searches are done on search engines, which calls for different search techniques to ensure you get relevant results. An essential strategy is to narrow your search, including putting the necessary words in a quotation. If you can’t get the results, the problem could be how you phrase your search information. Let’s say you search ‘USA presidents’ instead of ‘who was the 44th president of the USA?’ The first one will give you some information that you may not need, while the second will provide specific results.

You need to narrow down your search questions to match the expected results. Thus, it is good to understand how being specific will help you achieve better results.

Being Persistent 

It is tempting to give up when you do not find what you are looking for. But what if you are looking for the answers on the surface? People are most likely to stop at the first page of the results since they deem the first pages more trustworthy or reliable. However, the best way to go about it is to continue checking on the next pages of search results to see if you can find better answers. It could be that the best answers are just not ranked highly on the search engine.

Exercising patience when looking for relevant content is essential in building your research skills. With good online research skills, you may not need essay writing help since you will have mastered how to find appropriate sources for crafting a good paper easily. 

Respecting the Ownership of the Source 

The intellectual property rights of the content creator must be respected. Plagiarism of any content from an online resource breaches the authors’ copyrights and is punishable in most institutions. Therefore, when you extract information from a source, you have to quote the author and the authority in your work. You will be giving credit to the author and acknowledging that the ideas cited are not yours.  

Plagiarism has been a problem for many students because they copy what they read. Thus, it would help if you also learned how to paraphrase and rephrase statements to avoid being penalized for plagiarism.  

Being in Charge of the Search 

Leaving search engines to auto-fill your search question is not the right way to do online research. You may miss out on specific keywords, which will influence your search results. 

You should also be able to distinguish the domain extensions that appear during the search. For example, a website with ‘.com’ represents a commercial website, the ones with ‘.gov’ are for government sites, and ‘.edu’ is for educational institutions. Those with ‘.gov’ and ‘.edu’ may have more reliable facts, and you should use them. 

Most course instructors prefer seeing scholarly work referenced in your paper. Therefore, it is best to take control of your research and find relevant sources. 

Bottom Line

Successful online research is determined right from the search engine since it depicts the kind of results you will get. Presenting a well-written paper with information from credible sources shows the professor that you put in the effort to do the assignment. So you need to sharpen your internet research skills. Learning how to conduct your research appropriately is not only essential for your academics, but you may also need it even after completing your studies.

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