The Art Of Research In The Age Of Information

Sat 6 October 2018
Saturday 6 October 2018
7:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Ended

Its often said that we live in the Age of Information, and this couldn't be more true. Centuries ago it was the printing press that spread information and research paper online help. Now people in cities, universities, and monasteries from all around the known world could participate in the exchange of ideas. Many centuries later, the spread of knowledge and information was widened significantly further. For with the arrival of the Internet, there has been another explosion of information of all kinds. For the research student, this has been both a blessing and a curse. Chances are now better than ever that what you are looking for is there, but now there is simply so much material, you may become swapped and unable to find anything of value.


When it comes to research on the internet, you usually start with Google. Google is now the top search engine and is widely considered the industry leader for its programs for websites, site indices and market share. Websites on Google's index now number in the 100's of millions.
But there is more to research on the Internet than merely typing in a search term in a search engine. Sometimes you will find what you want, but other times, there will be literally a million sites possibly listing the term that you want. A keen understanding of what you are looking for is necessary. Can you identify your subject in a few unique or choice words or phrases? Too general and the search engine will respond with 10 million sites. You must be as specific as possible, which isn't always as easy as it sounds when you are researching a topic you know little about. Too precise and you might miss what it is you are looking for. That is why it helps to have a very broad knowledge of things, so that you have a ready familiarity with many topics and can key in on good results with good keywords. Also, knowledge of a few key index sites is always good. Sites that have a wealth of information, links, and other sources can often help ease your search. A good book can offer this as well.
Another problem with research on the internet is authenticity. Is your source valid? A well designed site can seem trustworthy, but we cant always know the nature of the person behind it. Do multiple searches on your topic and consider all your results together to ensure your results are valid.
But don't forget your local library. It is sometimes all too easy to become reliant on the internet, but the library also has many research tools: journals, microfiche, indices, etc. that may not be on the internet. A good researcher should also have his or her own library, stocked with almanacs, dictionaries, reference books, etc.
When it comes to information, we live in an exciting age. With a few skills and some good resources, we can find what we are looking for.

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