How to use the Internet to study

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Students today are in a much better position than their predecessors in terms of access to resources. In the past, a student had to go to the library, pore over its books, journals, papers, and archives, browse newspaper clippings and magazine articles, photocopy these and take notes by hand in order to come up with needed information.

Students now need only their laptops to be able to access information available anywhere in the world, at anytime that is convenient to them, by using the internet and then save their notes just as quickly on their laptop or digital device.

How do you find the information in the internet? You can choose among 4 search engines.

The most widely used is Google. Whether using your laptop, mobile or tablet, Google is used more than 50% of the time compared to other search engines. Just go to Google search and type a keyword, phrase or question. You can restrict your search to images, maps, videos, news, books or any other category. Bing is also a search engine but many find that Google can produce better results Yahoo is another choice, this is powered by Bing. You can also search using Ask.com. You can format your query in the form of a question and you will receive answers from other users, or in the form of survey results. However, the results may not be as extensive as Google, and the responses may be more in the form of opinions of the users rather than well researched information.

You can also use the internet to access resources and apps to help you study. Examples of such apps are Evernote and One Note which are for note taking.

To access resources in addition to the above, you can:

1. Check your online library for the materials you need for a more efficient search. If the books are not available in your library’s online catalogue, then you can search elsewhere

2. Look for hard to find books on Amazon.com and get to purchase these.

3. Search for an author’s homepage or website if you are looking for a particular author’s work, to be able to locate a list of these and where to find them. His website will also contain his email address, by which you can get in touch with him directly regarding your query.

4. Access chat rooms populated by people with similar study interests, and get leads from there to direct you to your requirement.

5. Use the internet to find names of resource persons, and find out what organization they are connected with as well as their contact details.

Extra tips

1. Write down first what topics you would like to research on. Be as specific as possible so that you can limit your search and not be overwhelmed by a vast amount of information. For example, if you are researching about a specific area and the places in that area that are of historical interest, then instead of just typing the name of the place, you can zero in and type “specific places of historical interest in such and such a place”.

2. You don’t have to go over all the search results, by opening and reading each entry. It is best to focus on the first 2 pages of your search results. If you find a useful article, you can bookmark this so that you will be able find it quickly later.

3. Discipline in sticking to your search topics is key. It is very easy to be tempted to click on topics that interest you but which are not related at all to your research.

Have a question? Ask it now.