Episode 21 – How to Conduct Internet Research

Welcome to the BrainTree podcast! Rocky and Prue are back to give you more tips about learning and study skills.

[01:00] Prue starts us off with a quote about Google by Douglas Coupland:

“With Google, I’m starting to burn out on knowing the answer to everything. People in the year 2020 are going to be nostalgic for the feeling of being clueless.”

[03:26] Prue introduces today’s topic with a query from a parent, who said that her son spends hours researching on-line, but often yields relatively little results. Here’s Prue’s ten steps for refining your results when researching:

[04:54] Step 1: Requirements

Be very clear on the focus of your task. Don’t search for the general subject, but refine it down to keywords and make sure you understand the goal.

[06:03] Step 2: Brainstorm

Spend some time coming up with your own ideas before reading other’s ideas. Brainstorm phrases and similar that can help you refine your search. Prue also reccommends using Wikipedia at this stage to get an overview of your subject, but don’t use it as a reference.

[09:50] Step 3: Plan

Plan and prioritise your study. If you need to write a single paragraph, then research that topic less than the topic that requires three paragraphs.

[10:34] Step 4: Get Feedback

Ask a teacher, parent or peer to look at your plan and check that you’re on the right track. They may even suggest things you may have missed.

Internet Research

[11:16] Step 5: Broaden Your Search

Go to libraries, look at books, magazines databases and other knowledge bases. Don’t just focus your research on the internet.

[11:53] Step 6: Start Your Internet Search

Take your plan and use it to begin your internet search. Put your exact phrases in quotation marks.

[12:36] Step 7: Be Selective

Don’t just click on the first result. Look at the sources and read the ones that will be the most useful to you.

[14:29] Step 8: Assess the Information

Check how current the results are, how reputable the source is, if they’re biased or reliable. Not everything written on the internet is fact. Be careful who you trust.

[16:00] Step 9: Record the Information

Record the content, but don’t forget to record the source as well. It can be hard to find things again, and there’s many ways to discover if you don’t reference properly and will be penalised for plagiarism. Don’t forget to record the author, the title and the date you accessed the website. Prue suggests using OneNote and Evernote to make referencing easier. Rocky tells us more about the benefits of Evernote for students.

[25:16] Step 10: Record the References

Make sure you have as much information as possible, not just about the content of the research, but where you got it and who wrote it.

[26:11] Rocky and Prue wrap up and discuss the next episode before signing off.

Thank you for listening, leave us a comment or ask us a question if you have one!

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