Internet Researching

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Internet Researching

Internet Researching

The Internet can be a researcher's dream come true. By browsing the Internet, much as you would browse the shelves of a library, you can access information on seemingly limitless topics. In addition, web-based catalogs are available in many libraries to assist researchers in locating printed books, journals, government documents, and other materials. Though our society has not quite resulted to living in space, we have made life easier with technology. Economic survival has become more dependent upon information and communications zbringing forth new technology of which was never thought possible. Just a mere thirty years ago a computer occupied a whole room compared today's palm sized computers, which are faster and perform more functions. Cellular phones, now light and compact, were bulky just ten years ago. The most incredible invention, the Internet, is bringing infinite amount of information to your desktop. In the world of the of the Internet there exist a world blind to skin color and other physical appearances. The Internet while still young in age has grown rapidly, spreading to countries world wide and connecting 50 million users. With its popularity, it is incumbent upon our society to recognize how the Internet works and to be aware of its advantages as well as disadvantages. (Comer 2006 p. 64.)

While seemingly high tech the Internet concept is rather simple. Computers speak to one another and send information. This is accomplished by sending and receiving electronic impulse, and then decoding them into a message. In order to communicate with one another they are linked up in a network. They are then able to access information from thousands of other computers. The network acts like one large computer storing information in various places, rather than in one physical structure. Users tap into the Internet to access or provide information. Internet technology allows one to surf the World Wide Web or send e-mail. (Castells 1996 pp.112)

Possibly the biggest obstacle facing researchers on the Internet is how to effectively and efficiently access the vast amount of information available with the simple click of the mouse. With the Internet's potential as a research tool, teachers must instruct and guide their students on manageable strategies for sorting through the abundance of information. The search for reliable resources can be both overwhelming and frustrating if students are left on their own in their initial search. A few simple guidelines can make conducting research more manageable, reliable, and fun. (Comer 2006 p. 64.)

The research process

Lessons and projects should be designed so that research time on the Web can be maximized in terms of efficiency. This may mean gathering necessary information beforehand, having students work in groups, or focusing on whole-class projects(Rehmeyer 2007 pp.387-388).

Barron and Ivers (1996) outlined the following cycle for online research projects.

Step 1: Questioning --- Before going on the Internet, students should structure their questions. Step 2: Planning --- Students should develop a search strategy with a list of sites to investigate. Step 3: Gathering --- Students use the Web ...
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