Where do most students begin their research?
As high as 89% of students start their research on the Internet, using a search engine such as Google. Furthermore, 93% are satisfied or very satisfied with their overall experience of using a search engine. Most search engines allow natural language searching which is easier for students to use, compared to keyword and subject searching in research databases. Unfortunately, the quality of the search results may not be very good and the number of hits is typically in the millions. Rather than narrowing down their search, most students look at the initial few hits on the first page of results and use those sites to gather information of their topic.
What should you do? Remind students to evaluate the websites they intend to cite for credibility and authority. While there are many good government and educational sites, there are also a large number of .com and .org sites that offer biased information.