Thursday, 10 September 2015

How to Use the Internet As a Research Tool for Your Essays

The internet is a fantastic resource. Can you remember what life was like before we had access to the internet? All of our information and knowledge had to come from other sources such as text books, library sources, other people and visual or audio resources. Nowadays we can simply type in a series of words into an online search engine and out comes a list of hundreds of resources which may be of assistance to us as we strive forward to learn more about a particular subject matter. It is incredible really.

The internet is thus a crucial resource for anyone who is undertaking study as it can provide a vast amount of information about a subject area that you are learning about or that you are writing about. There is no longer the need to rely solely on the information that you can glean from text books or primary sources found in school, college or University libraries. Now you can access information that will help with the content and quality of your essays from your very own computer. Indeed, you can access this information whilst lying in bed or watching the TV if desired!

So how should you go about using the internet as a research tool to help you with your essay writing? Well the first thing to remember is that the internet is a fantastic resource...but it is also an open and public resource and so there can be an awful lot of rubbish and incorrect information contained on the internet as well as information that will actually be meaningful and useful to you. So proceed with caution. Always ensure that any information you take from an internet source has come from a reliable website, and that it can be supported by other information or facts quoted by other individuals. Don't assume that everything you read on the internet is factually accurate, or that it has a place in your essay argument or content.

The next thing to remember is that search engines work best if you have entered specific search terms into their search engine. Asking a large search engine to produce information that is related to environmental science will produce thousands of different website links and resources. All very well and good...if you have hours and hours spare to go through all of these links in order to find any information that might be relevant to your specific essay question. Most students don't have this great luxury of time...and they also don't want to waste precious hours searching through information in this way. So be sure to put specific search terms into the search engine that are relevant to your essay topic, for example, 'benefits of studying environmental science at University'.

Finally, when using information found on the internet, remember that it will need to be referenced in the bibliography of your essay. So to make this process as easy as possible, note down the exact URL for each useful website that you visited, make a note of the time and date that you visited the webpage, and who you think the author of the webpage is (if possible).

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