With the internet, everything is easy. More and more students are using the internet to research their college papers. However, using the internet to do their research is very different from traditional library research.
Professors and experts in various fields thoroughly verify library reference materials before publication, so they are credible sources. On the other hand, internet materials may not be as credible but are useful when diversifying references.
However, it is essential to exercise a lot of care when researching using the internet, and I personally used to do my online class only after consulting experts online. But today, let me share my wisdom on how to use internet research that could make you better at writing college papers.
Know Your Sources
We already know you can get anything on the internet. But not all of it is to be used when writing college papers. You should always look at all the available sources and, if possible, look for the primary source. Next, ask yourself if the authors are writing subjectively or not.
Most college essays will require citations, so the sources you would be citing should be credible. Wikis, for example, are not good academic sources because they are open to being edited by everyone, which leaves a huge margin of error.
The best sources are usually government sites, university academic sites, some health and security firms, and some blogs.
Also, avoid sources that are based on opinion rather than fact.
As a student, make it a priority to learn how to search for your sources using specific wording. These are called keywords. This way, you will avoid getting a lot of vague and unrelated information.
In addition, the search engine will give you several answers to your query, but that does not mean that the results at the top make sense. So search through the results and vet the ones that are most likely to help you.
As we have mentioned, your search engine will give you several results. Go through some or even most of the results to gather all the information you need to ace your essay. When researching online for a news piece, read all the information from various sources to make sure that the facts are credible.
Remember, the internet will offer every result it can find, so read through carefully.
The organization is the key
We know you will have to deal with several websites, blogs, and report sources. So how do you keep track of all the places you will look over?
You note them down. The internet has thousands of information; unlike books, you can’t just fold down the page and later return to it. So, have a notebook that you will use to note down the sites you found useful, including a brief description to help you identify the site.
Organizing your sources will help you determine if the available sources are enough for your paper. This way, you even create a list of sources you can rely on and those you need to cut out.
Moreover, annotations will also help you narrow down citations. It will save you a lot of time later also because you already know what you are working with.
Define Your Scope
Look at what you are researching about and focus there. For example, if you are researching ways to prevent malaria, you will not want to waste time looking at ways to prevent pests in an area. It will mean that you have gone off-topic, and your paper will probably not attract a good grade. So, be very particular with your scope of research.
As a student, expect that you will have essays and research papers several times in a term. You could use the books in your library, or you might as well learn how to use the internet effectively for your research.
Use the tips above, and I am sure your internet research skills will improve, not to mention the good papers you will be able to write.