Six Must-Have Research Skills for Online Students – Research is a valuable life skill that can assist students in gathering and analyzing information. To offer students ownership of their learning, teachers assign independent or group research tasks as assignments. It empowers students to gain a greater understanding of the subjects and educational degrees they are studying.
The abundance of information over the internet and the ease with which we can access it can make conducting research appear simple. However, when conducting research, a basic Google search is not adequate nowadays. Given the vast availability of data and the dangers of fake and misrepresentation of information, students can end up compromising their academic work and integrity. Therefore, they must learn the necessary skills to locate the information they need to produce better assignments and theoretical research work.
Henceforth, we’ve compiled a list of essential skills to help students succeed in their independent online research projects. Let’s dive straight in.
1. Evaluate your sources
It is necessary to understand how to evaluate the sources of information you are rummaging through. Information that is more than a year old might not be accurate or might have changed over time. The more recent the publication date is, the better and correct the information will be. For example, suppose a student enrolled in an online engineering degree wants to find statistics on the global consumption of construction materials to complete an assignment. In that case, recent publications with statistics from a year or two ago are more likely to be accurate and reliable than those published half a decade ago.
Besides checking the publication date, it is well worth evaluating the ranking and status of the website/organization that has published the information. If the website/organization is well-known, the information is likely to be correct. Deploying the CRAAP technique can help students evaluate the sources better and undermine the significance of data. Each letter stands for something to look for. How Current the information is, how Relevant the material is to your work, the publisher’s Authority, the Accuracy of the information, and the Purpose of sharing information by the publisher.
2. Use intelligent searching techniques
Knowing how and what keywords to use while researching online information is another crucial skill that students must master. For example, if you want to search for information on George Wallace’s assassination, enter all three words. If you search for ‘George assassination,’ you could get information on George Floyd’s murder.
Learning how to use keywords and refining the search can yield more relevant results. You must also skim through the search terms that appear in the search suggestions at the bottom of SERPs. Overlooking these phases can prevent you from getting precise information about a particular topic they are searching for. For example, if you search for information on the book value of an intangible asset over some time, the word “amortization” appears in the suggestions. If you add the term ‘amortization’ to your query, the sources will be more refined. Thus using the right words and suggestions can provide more meaningful information. Additionally, you can also fine-tune your search results by incorporating additional symbols with your search terms. Google search hacks to find out.
3. Show persistency
Students are accustomed to receiving information at their fingertips. However, while searching for information for merely 5 to 10 minutes, students become frustrated and give up. This usually happens when they don’t find information relevant to what they are searching for.
One of the skills that students must have for efficient research is to show determination. Resilient students have the power to process and resolve adversity. They are more likely to succeed if they can tackle new circumstances with optimism and a positive attitude. Henceforth, students must look for alternate solutions, such as asking the teacher to guide them further in the research process or change the key terms for their query.
4. Stay organized
While researching for information online, students are often overwhelmed by the amount of data that they see. There may be many images, word files, PDFs, videos, which they download or bookmark for later use. It is essential to keep all the information well organized to avoid missing any critical information. There are numerous methods for keeping the research organized. For example, maintain an excel sheet with all the sources, bookmarking essential websites, annotating PDFs, etc.
5. Break down the research process
The most challenging phase of the research process is getting started. It can help students accomplish their goals by breaking down their research into manageable chunks. It can help students concentrate on and master sections of the research process that seem impossible to conquer. Students must start broad by reading about the topic on Google, Investopedia, and Wikipedia. However, as we said earlier- evaluate the information. Not every website may be accurate. After gaining some insight, start researching more authentic journals and scholarly articles to get better info. It can help them build sound knowledge about the subject and help students orient themselves in it.
6. Respect intellectual property rights
Students must be considerate that it is not ethical to steal, and one must respect the ownership of the material. Copying someone else’s work and pasting it as their own is called plagiarism and displays poor ethical conduct. Most academic institutions take it as a severe offense resulting in suspension or expulsion. Students should give credit to the website or the author where they have taken the information from.
The ability to conduct successful research is a necessary skill for everyone, especially students. It’s only going to get more critical as our world becomes more information-rich. Research skills are essential for students because they enable them to find facts and develop an outline for their assignments. Teaching students sound online search skills is critical as it can help them accomplish tasks. Still, it can also educate them to evaluate the validity of various types of knowledge. By following the tips mentioned above, you and other students can quickly take your searching skills to the next level and write A-grade assignments and papers.
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