December 6, 2012

Teachers Say that for Students Today ‘Research = Googling’

In the view of teachers, perhaps the most fundamental impact of the internet and digital tools on how students conduct research is how today’s digital environment is changing the very definition of what “research” is and what it means to “do research.” Ultimately, some teachers say, for students today, “research = Googling.”

Asked how likely their students were to use a variety of different information sources for a typical research assignment, 94% of the teachers surveyed said their students were “very likely” to use Google or other online search engines, placing it well ahead of the other sources asked about.

Second to search engines was the use of Wikipedia or other online encyclopedias, which 75% of teachers said their students were “very likely” to use in a typical research assignment. And rounding out the top three was YouTube or other social media sites, which about half of teachers (52%) said their students were “very likely” to use.

More “traditional” sources of information, such as textbooks, print books, online databases, and research librarians ranked well below these newly emerging technologies. Fewer than one in five teachers said their students are “very likely” to use any of these sources in typical research assignments. Read More