Have you "googled" anything today? Every day, there are 3.5 billion inquiries on Google. It seems like everyone relies on Google. If you are looking for general information, it is quick and easy and very helpful. However, when it comes to schoolwork, Google can be a bad habit.
Google is not “all knowing” like many may think. Google can only collect information that is put out there. A searcher can only retrieve relevant information when they know the best key words to use. It is up to the search engine to match your request. That is also why a different search engine may give you a slightly different return for an identical request. The more information Google is asked to find, the more it can store for future requests. Knowing how to find the best Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is paramount to thorough research.
College students are required to produce academic research. High school should also be preparing students to write scholarly. Search engines do not always provide the authorship for its information. The most reliable information can be found in academic journals, which cost money to access. Colleges and libraries subscribe to these journals and provide access to this more reliable resource. It is called the deep web because you cannot “get in” unless you are affiliated with someone who subscribes. Academic articles are peer-reviewed before they are published; but “most information on the internet does not go through a review process” (ukessays). It is up to the researcher to verify the reliability of their resources.
It requires critical thinking to do research. “Critical thinking is self-guided, self-disciplined thinking which attempts to reason at the highest level of quality in a fair-minded way” (Scriven and Paul, 1987). Knowledge at any level of education is not meant to be memorized. The key to our success is our thinking ability. We use our thinking in everyday life, such as which brand to buy or whether a course of action is wise. Academic writing is the same. One should do their best to gather information from reliable sources and learn how to assess and interpret the information. Critical thinking requires problem solving and decision making. Critical thinking promotes new ideas and understandings, as well as confirming information already known.
Not all posters on Google use critical thinking. Students need to appreciate that turning in a paper is not just meant to gather information to complete an assignment. The purpose for writing papers is to learn how to do it properly. The idea of research is to learn from the ideas presented. Academic maturity is gained as students continue to learn how to think for themselves and to articulate that thinking in writing or speech.
Students can use Google to get basic information on their topic. Next, they can find out what information is on the deep web. After gathering resources and assessing or interpreting them, students will be able to write a concise paper stating their findings. In this way they avoid the bad habit of just googling unverified information.
Scriven, Michael and Richard Paul (1887). Critical Thinking as Defined by the National Council for Excellence in Critical Thinking. Presented at the 8th Annual International Conference on Critical Thinking and Education Reform.
Ukessays (2019). www.ukessays.com