Part of Berkeley High School’s mission statement is to teach students to think critically, creatively, and analytically. In order to achieve that goal, students must be taught more research strategies than automatically opening a computer.
It’s undeniable that the internet has become an invaluable tool for research. Schools in Berkeley are equipped with laptops and computer labs, and students are encouraged to use these resources when necessary.
While the internet certainly has its benefits in the classroom, it also leads users to avoid questioning the information they find. Research skills such as critical thinking are easy to ignore when using the internet, yet that is when they are most important.
Anyone can put information on the internet. The amount of credible information is constantly growing, but it also means that the amount of misinformation is increasing as well. As of January 12, there are roughly 1.13 billion websites and 50 billion web pages on the internet. Those 1.13 billion websites aren’t quality-assured or fact-checked, and only a small amount of them are published by actual experts.
Just going off of the first thing to pop up in a Google search can hardly count as research. The top website or featured snippet is only one source out of possibly millions, and it can be influenced by factors such as your location. Unfortunately, it can be a lot less time-consuming to just go with the first result, so it’s natural to avoid looking past the easy answers.
Developing these bad research habits can be catastrophic going into college. College assignments often heavily utilize research, and the grade you receive largely depends on the credibility of your information.
The internet can often be more accessible and time-efficient than searching through libraries and other such sources. However, the library has benefits the internet does not. Only around 8 percent of scholarly journals can be found on the internet, and libraries contain older resources and archived materials.
Regarding accessibility, library databases can be accessed online as well. A combination of internet and library research is more helpful and reliable than only using one.
High school students need to be taught how to navigate and understand libraries and research books, and draw from a wide variety of sources. Quality research skills will push students toward success.