Friday, 12 June 2015 20:57



Some kids are using computers or electronics before they can even talk in complete sentences. However, just because we start kids out ridiculously early on electronics, doesn’t mean they automatically grow up to know how to use the Internet properly.

From early elementary age, students are expected to write reports and in order to do that effectively, at least some research needs to be done. Research takes time so it’s no surprise that it is not high on a kid’s list. There is also a misconception that with a single keyword search, the only website they have to look at is Wikipedia, which many teachers don’t allow as a reliable source, and rightly so.

As kids get into upper grades, they need to use Internet more and more but yet it seems that schools are not spending any time teaching kids how to research effectively. Because there is so much information available, sometimes it can be overwhelming.

Kids are so used to being spoon-fed snippets of information that the thought of actually spending time researching and reading full-length articles is mind-boggling to most.

So what can parents and teachers do? Here are 10 Do’s and Don’ts to get you and your kids started.

DO a keyword search: Whether you like Google, Yahoo, Bing or any number of other search engines, start by doing a simple keyword search on the topic.

DON’T limit your keywords: One of the biggest mistakes I see people do is try one or maybe two keywords or phrases. If they don’t find anything on those tries, they think there isn’t any information on the subject. When I hear that statement, my only response is, “Are you kidding?!” You have the world at your fingertips. It’s a matter of knowing how to find information, which granted, is sometimes the hardest part.

DO rearrange your keywords: This may be obvious to some but it’s surprising how many people of all ages don’t think about trying different versions of the same keywords. Sometimes that’s all it takes to get the right results.

DO ask questions: As more and more information is stuffed online, chances are someone else has wondered or needed the same information as you do. Think of your online search as if you were asking a question to someone in real life. Be direct. Example: What year did the Battle of Gettysburg start?

DON’T skim for answers: Unless you are looking for one specific answer to a question, such as stated above, you are probably going to have to actually read at least a few articles to find enough information in order to write a report. That doesn’t mean just the first few lines either. You just might learn something else you didn’t know by reading full articles.

DO verify your sources: Checking and double-checking sources or information should be one of the first rules of research but too many kids are quick to take the first website or article they find as the ultimate source. Just because it’s on Internet, doesn’t make it factual either.

DO check related links: The beauty of Internet is that it is extremely easy to find related stories about a topic because of clickable links within articles. Even if you don’t use that information in your report, something you find on a side topic just might help in some other way.

DON’T just bookmark: A common mistake of many people is to just bookmark every site they find thinking they will read it or make notes later. Why do double work? If you find a website or article, take the time right away to read enough to know if it’s even worth bookmarking. Otherwise you end up with a long list of sites that you have to go through again later.

DON’T plagiarise: It is very tempting for people to just copy and paste information because it is so easy. After all, with so much information on Internet, how could a parent or teacher know that it wasn’t your words? Aside from simply doing the right thing because it’s the right thing to do, there are sites like TurnItIn that schools are using to check students for plagiarism. You wouldn’t want someone else taking credit for your words. Don’t do that to others.

DO take notes: Copying and pasting does come in handy for taking notes on a subject. While you are researching, open up a Word document. When you find sections of information from articles that are relevant, copy and paste them in the document to use as reference notes when you start writing your report. This can save you lots of time later on.

Research may not always be fun and it does take time, but it is a lot easier since the invention of Internet. 

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World's leading professional association of Internet Research Specialists - We deliver Knowledge, Education, Training, and Certification in the field of Professional Online Research. The AOFIRS is considered a major contributor in improving Web Search Skills and recognizes Online Research work as a full-time occupation for those that use the Internet as their primary source of information.

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