5 tips to teach your kid about Internet research


Today’s students don’t have to spend too much time doing research in the library. In many ways, libraries have been compacted into a computer or tablet for students to use at school or at home. having countless amounts of information at one’s fingertips is a great advantage but students need to know how to properly use the Internet so they come up with the information they really need rather than get bogged down with hundreds of web pages they either can’t use or don’t even want. The extent to which a student uses the Internet will depend on their age and grade level but there are definitely some universal tips that can help out any student.

1.  Who is the author?

The first thing student researchers should ask themselves is whether or not the author is qualified to write the content. Remember, just about anybody can publish a blog or webpage on the Internet. Does the author really know what they’re talking about? What are their qualifications? If Joe Smith is talking about quantum mechanics then he should probably have a degree in some field of science and be teaching it at a university or working in the field. Although it’s certainly interesting to read about people’s personal blogs, it doesn’t mean the author is qualified to provide reliable information for a research paper.

2. How can the research be duplicated?

Many students find an excellent webpage or online article after several steps. Unfortunately, most students new to research don’t know how to duplicate their search, meaning they have to go through all of these steps the next time they have an assignment. While students are still learning how to use the Internet it’s important that they write some of their steps down and figure out which searches resulted in pertinent information straight away and which ones took way too long. Students should learn how to bookmark important sites and avoid pages that are unnecessary (READ: 5 Ways for Students to Adjust to Post Holiday Education).

3. How do I cite an Internet source?

Citing a source from the Internet is different from citing a tangible textbook or journal. Students should consult the manual of style their teacher prefers to get specific information for a given assignment. If not otherwise specified, students should make sure to have the author, publisher, the date the article was written, URL, as well as the date they visited the site. Web pages are constantly updated so it’s important students type in the date they viewed the webpage.

4. Searching for pertinent information

It can be difficult to search for relevant information in a sea of articles and blogs that probably have nothing to do with the subject they’re researching. In many cases, students can simply ask a question directly to their computer and get a relevant answer. Advanced research will require students to use keywords and avoid terms that send their research in the wrong direction. In many ways, this is a trial and error situation that can become frustrating rather quickly. Students are encouraged to consult their teacher or parent for help getting started on basic browser searches.

5. Avoiding unnecessary web pages

Students are also encouraged to learn how to avoid random web pages that aren’t appropriate for a school research paper. So many people have a personal blog, which is great, but the author of the blog needs to be qualified to state facts or give an educated opinion about their topic. One surefire way to avoid these types of pages is to stick to a list of reputable publications t

5 tips to teach your kid about Internet research

hat fact check and edit before publication. Time, the Washington Post, the LA Times, and Scientific American are all examples of reputable publications.

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