Many students now turn to the Internet when writing their college paper more often than before. This is in sharp contrast to the norm a decade ago, when the conventional form of research, also known as library research, was commonly practiced. More so, instructors and professors often require a student to conduct Internet research.
Many college students don’t know the difference between library and Internet research, and that the latter must be approached critically and controlled with a check for plagiarism online. The first step a student should take is to understand the difference and what it means in college paper writing.
Differences between library and Internet research
All the books and printed resources you find at the college library have been painstakingly evaluated and vetted by experts. This process is often known as peer review where other experts in the field edit and analyze the work of the writer to ensure it is “fit” for publication in the school’s library.
Also, these materials and books are well organized and cataloged using appropriate global references and style. But these cannot be said of resources found on the Internet. The web is like a pit hole where anything can be found. Anyone can write a paper even using jargon and upload it on the web without submitting it for review or allowing it to pass through any screening process.
What does this mean for a college student? It’s simple! Pay close attention to the information you find on the web, especially when conducting research online. Here are a few things you should remember as you research for your college paper online.
Narrow your research topic before commencing research
The Internet will expose you to a vast amount of information so you might become overwhelmed and drift off topic while doing research. If your college paper requires you to conduct research online, remember to narrow down your search to the research topic. To do this accurately, think about your search subject, and formulate specific questions that will guide your search and prevent you from drifting away.
Select appropriate directories and search engines
Websites such as academicinfo.com are a great place to commence your academic research on the web. Also, you should understand that Google, Yahoo, and Bing differ in the way they work and the kind of search results they display.
You should devote some time to study how these search engines can help you write your college research paper. Get to know the kind of content you should expect from each one of them because they will never give you the same results when you search for a particular word. This will minimize your frustrations and help you to avoid wasting time while doing research.
Record each site you visit and the ones you used eventually
While researching on the internet, you will likely visit many useful websites and others that are less useful to your research. Ensure you keep a detailed record of them all. You must not rely on your browser history for references later on. Write them down as you progress along the research process. Such record may become useful later when you are given a similar task to research on while in college.
Ensure all URLs in your paper are accurate
Internet addresses can be complicated most times. Hence, it’s vital to double-check all URLs in your paper to guarantee their accuracy before concluding the project. Check for mistakes in these URLs such as typos, and grammatical errors that might render them useless if you had included them right away without checking.
Update your outline
Take another look at your thesis statement as well as your argumentative structure. Are the subsequent paragraphs and subsection following your thesis statement? Check for gaps, errors, and redundancies. Also, check your sources and ensure they aren’t taking you on a tangent.
If you follow this guide carefully when using the Internet for writing your college paper, then you can be pretty sure to have a good start. The summary of it all is to evaluate any info on the Internet critically. Don’t rely too heavily on it, as its accuracy cannot be determined with certainty.