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Daniel Meyers

Daniel Meyers

How to use the Internet properly

For many students, the Internet has become an indispensable tool for research. This is not surprising, since it appears to be an unlimited repository of facts, literature, and information on any topic. Just wandering around the Internet-without a plan, without experience, without consulting an expert-is easy. You may think you've found something resembling research, but you really haven't. To take advantage of the Internet for writing assignments, you should distinguish between two types of Internet searches: open and closed. Open searches contain a lot of publicly available information on the Internet. They use free search engines and subject directories. Of course, they should not be used for serious research. They are mainly for informal and initial research, and for brainstorming and adding missing facts to the text. For example, if you need to know the polity of Switzerland or the year Joyce wrote Ulysses, the Holocaust period for a Holocaust essay topic, use an open search. A closed search, on the other hand, does not use the entire Internet, but only certain, edited collections. Closed searches usually have to be paid for. But the good news is that there are enough services on the Internet that offer quality content for free and as proof of that you can view website However, because licenses and fees are often set by an organization (a college library or corporation), closed search can seem free to the individual user. This type of search should be used for formal research, for example, if you need to find a specific paper or source for an essay. Both types of searches have their advantages in facilitating your research. Although they target different things and require different search strategies. Closed-ended searches do not allow you to take advantage of all the variety of the Internet. At the same time, you cannot rely on the reliability of information found in open search engines. Nor do they provide you with scholarly data.

Many students mix these two approaches, and the result is a paper full of quirky tangents, indiscriminate citations, lack of scholarly formality, and unseriousness. Inadequate citation from the Internet is another factor that ruins the overall impression of student essays. Do not refer readers only to the home page. This will deprive them of the opportunity to reproduce and check your work. When citing a web source, don't forget to specify the type of Internet source, the specific URL, the author's details, the title of the document and its description, the date of publication or posting, and the search date. Any other type of citation will be useless in an academic sense. The last thing you should know about citation is that you should do it wisely.

Remember that while the Internet can provide an in-depth study of any topic, it also provides you with the chaos of strange, non-academic material posted online. Don't forget that when writing a research paper, part of your task is to judiciously evaluate what to cite and what to omit.