Research Tips And Techniques For Online Students 

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Unshackling from traditional brick and mortar system to more flexible online education and research has made it more sustainable model for learning for students and the educational organisations worldwide.

Considering the accessibility and financial savings associated with online research, their influence is far more than that of traditional research methods because of certain inherent benefits such as higher response rates and privacy of their identity compared to other research methods traditionally used. 

While online research using internet gaining currency offers many advantages such as availability of plethora of materials rather academic resources on many subject areas. But It also faces the following major challenges and issues from of selection of technologies and how to employ them effectively, such as:

  • How do you choose the appropriate application for your research needs? How to decide which application is best for your research purposes? 
  • From an ethical perspective, what steps may be taken to ensure the confidentiality of research participants? 

An increasing number of students are using the Internet to conduct research for their assignments, writing thesis. However, there can be issues because traditional library research and research conducted online differ greatly from one another. The Internet is an amazing resource, but it needs to be utilised cautiously. 

Nevertheless, considering the common challenges, the following fundamental principles and guidelines can be recommended: 

Don’t rely on online resources alone.

While it’s possible that your assignment will require you to conduct all of your research online, most instructors will expect you to use both the Internet and library resources. A useful technique to ensure that information on the Internet is trustworthy and authoritative is to cross-reference it with information found in the library. 

Before logging on, focus on your research topic.

You can quickly become overwhelmed by the amount of information available on the Internet.

Consider what you’re looking for before you begin, and if at all feasible, create a list of extremely precise questions to help you focus and narrow down your research. 

Understand the search engines and subject directories.

Numerous excellent, peer-reviewed subject directories with links chosen by subject matter experts are available. Academic Info and INFOMINE are two excellent examples. These are great starting points for your online academic research. There are significant differences between Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines in terms of how they operate, how much of the Internet they search, and the types of results you can anticipate. You can save yourself a great deal of annoyance and time later by taking the time to understand what each search engine can accomplish and how to use it most effectively. Using multiple search engines is a smart idea since they will all yield different results for you.

Keep a detailed record of sites you visit and the sites you use.

When conducting research online, one must unavoidably visit both helpful and useless websites. It’s important to keep track so you can refer to the relevant ones later and include the essential references in your paper.

Double-check all URLs that you put in your paper.

Typos will render your references unusable because complex Internet addresses are prone to error. To be sure, enter them into your browser’s Location box and make sure you end up at the correct website. 

The recommended guidelines listed below are meant to help you assess online resources. You may steer clear of a lot of mistakes and issues when visiting a website by paying attention to the following questions. 

Authority 

  • Who is the writer? 
  • Is the name of the author stated? 

Affiliation

  • Who is the website’s sponsor? 
  • Is the writer connected to any respectable establishment or group? 
  • Does the information represent the organization’s opinions or just the author’s? Check the URL if the supporting institution or organisation is not prominently displayed on the website. It might have a university name (U of T Mississauga contains utoronto) or the.edu extension, which is a common use among academic institutions. The.gov extension is used to identify government websites. Research is necessary for URLs ending in.org, as these are websites supported by nonprofit groups, some of which are quite biassed and some of which are more trustworthy. Additionally, use cautious while visiting websites ending in.com since they may contain commercial. 

Currency 

  • Is the website up to date? 
  • Is this website outdated? 
  • Is the most current update’s date provided?

Content Reliability/Accuracy 

  • Is the information on the website accurate and dependable? 
  • Is the material factual and free of bias? 
  • Are you able to confirm the details found in print sources? 
  • Is the source of the information clearly stated whether original research material or secondary material obtained from elsewhere? 
  • How reliable is the source’s research? 
  • Does the information as it is presented have depth and substance? 
  • When arguments are presented, are they supported by solid data and sound reasoning?
  • Is the author’s viewpoint unbiased and objective? 

If you can answer each of these questions with confidence when reviewing a website, you can pretty much assume that it’s a decent one; if not, it’s best to avoid.

Westford Uni Online ensures each program, be it bachelor’s, master’s, or DBA, includes a dedicated module for refining research skills. While specialized programs target industry-specific skills, fostering research and academic excellence remains integral.

References: 

  • The SAGE Handbook of Online Research Methods | SAGE Publications Ltd 
  • Conduct High Quality Online Research: Process, Types, Tools, Tips & More | Delegated (formerly Red Butler) 
  • Online Research: Methods, Example & Types | StudySmarter.co.uk 
  • https://www.shutterstock.com/

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