The Internet as a Research Tool: Dispelling the Myths


This full-day workshop brings together librarians and composition teachers who will demonstrate how the Internet may be used effectively for research.

Recent articles and essays have suggested that:

  1. the Internet has contributed to the decline in students' writing and in their expression of original ideas.
  2. nothing worthwhile is to be found on the Internet in terms of serious research;
  3. librarians are no longer central to the research process;
  4. plagiarism cannot be controlled.

The Internet provides both regulated and unregulated access to information. It increases the volume of legitimate data available to the researcher in addition to providing a wealth of primary source material for analysis. Government documents, scholarly journals, books, newspapers and magazines are but a few of the legitimate offerings available. Libraries, museums, and universities, as well as fringe groups and fanatics use web pages to disseminate their information.

Basic approaches to research remain the same. The library continues to be the traditional repository of information. It provides access to information in print and electronic formats. Often the library is the primary source because access to databases is controlled by site license, technological limitation and expense.

Librarians have engaged in bibliographic instruction in the library for years. With the advent of computerized classrooms, librarians now may visit the classrooms and share their expertise. They are able to work with instructors to show students how to combine traditional and electronic searches in their research.

Librarians and instructors who teach research using the internet will offer the following hands on activities to dispel the myths listed above:

  1. designing search strategies that facilitate effective use of search engines.
  2. accessing bibliographic and full text data bases available through libraries and campus networks
  3. evaluating web sites for their intrinsic value as well a their relationship to other resources.
  4. providing guidance in designing assignments to maximize the use of resources and minimize plagiarism.
  5. demonstrating techniques in downloading files to data disks, creating bookmarks, mailing documents, cutting and pasting URL locations and data.

In addition roundtable discussions, hands-on practice time, and individual conferencing with facilitators will be included.


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98-05-23 / Alan Rea