Has Google Simplified or Impeded Our Research Skills?
With the introduction of technologies, it is now clear that the way people gather, evaluate or use the information has changed significantly over the past few decades (McClure, 2011, p. 41). A study conducted by the Google Company showed that nine out of every ten researchers begin the process of gathering information through the web before turning to the different books or journals available in libraries (McClure, 2011, p. 41). A higher population prefers Google as their main search engine in addition to Web encyclopaedias. Most researchers, particularly, students consider using Google because it offers a wide range of information that can be accessed quickly and at lower costs. However, with the widespread use of Google and other online libraries in different fields of research, issues of originality and ability to nurture applicable skills for further researches arise (Peele, & Phipps, 2007, p. 10).
In this study, acknowledging the fact that every innovation has both its positive and negative sides is important. On the positive aspects, it is worth recognizing the contribution of technology, especially in areas of research and how best its integration in online discussions and internet research have improved individual research skills (Purdy, 2012, p. 11). Google as the main search engine provides researchers with quick access to online library, and this allows researchers to develop the ability to regulate information behaviour for the purposes of understanding the concepts of information literacy. Based on the range of information provided in Google Web pages, researchers get the opportunity to read different materials from various authors and compare such information based on the content and their relevance to the research area (Purdy, 2012, p. 11). The ability to locate information from an extensive range of sources sharpens research knowledge by making the researcher more evaluative and analytical. For example, the observed research experiences and the rate at which people become enthusiastic to use the internet, as their first source of information is an indication of individual’s ability to incorporate technology into scientific studies. In other words, Google experiences enhance the understanding of the research environment and allow researchers to have confidence in their work (Purdy, 2012, p. 13). This is because most of the research findings are based on scientific literatures already tested and found to be fit for use. Through Google search, researchers find the opportunity to learn and increase their knowledge about how to write scientifically and also present carefully researched materials. In addition to the mentioned areas, students who use internet and Google as their online library gain emotional attachment to their work and this increases their motivation to deliver quality researched work.
Even though “Googling” has shifted the slow process of intellectual urge to a fast-paced and short-term discovery, there is still need for researchers to engage in extensive studies in order to develop the skills required for profound and original research (Mathewson, Donatone & Fishel, 2010, p. 23). It is quite evident that Google search has conditioned students to a fast and easy information processing. The fact that students are conditioned to information that is already processed inhibits the ability to conduct primary research and do personal analysis based on the collected primary information (Mathewson, Donatone & Fishel, 2010, p. 23). In many cases, the work produced by the researchers are unoriginal and limited to the knowledge of other scholars. Since the researchers are confident that they will always have something relevant to present in their areas of studies, they spend little time in real fieldwork, and this means that they never apply most of classroom work in real life experiences.
Mathewson, J., Donatone, F., & Fishel, C. (2010). Audience, Relevance, and Search: Targeting Web Audiences with Relevant Content. Pearson Education.
McClure, R. (2011). Googlepedia: Turning Information Behaviors into Research Skills. Writing spaces: Readings on Writing.
Peele, T., & Phipps, G. (2007). Research instruction at the point of need: Information literacy and online tutorials. Computers and Composition Online.
Purdy, J. P. (2012). Why first-year college students select online research resources as their favorite. First Monday.