Using the internet for learning and research
The Internet has evolved rapidly, fast becoming a primary source of information for many, on almost any topic. Many people are simply overwhelmed by the quantity of information, and are at a loss on how to make sense of it all. This page sets out a method in which you can harness Internet information for your learning and research.
Relying on mere search will not bring you information in either a timely or precise way. You must engage with information as it moves if you wish to understand better its context and the effect it has. Following the advice set out here will help you keep on top of new and emerging information, as well as to track it as it evolves.
Creating and involving yourself in an online network is an excellent way to access and keep on top of information. Here, we think of information as a flow rather than a static product. We have broken the steps toward tapping a 'flow' into 3 parts:
- Use a traditional search, such as google.
- Use google scholar, and include scholar preferences that suit your need (such as your University library and BibliographyManager to import references quickly). Don't just search on google scholar, click on the "cited by" link to see what articles have used this particular reference. Here's a short video tutorial to google scholar.
- How to use Google Blog Search
- Take RSS feeds from leading journals (such as Ben's)
- Take RSS feeds from blogs (Again, example of Ben's RSS feed network)
- Video: RSS in Plain English
- How to follow someone on Twitter
- Socially bookmark significant finds (for example, this might be as varied as the journals Ben is interested in to resources for teaching a biochemistry unit)
- Tweet (or micro blog) links and/or comments on finds (example of Ben's tweets)
- Video: Social Bookmarking in Plain English
- Write and discuss information in online collaborative spaces such as wikis
- Write to a blog post comments, notes, thoughts of finds and/or original work (example Skype collobrative discussion, generated blog post, and comments that lead to increasing network)
- Set up a professional blog and youtube channel
- How to edit Wikipedia
- As you become aware of other work, other individuals online and other resources through the following, sharing and generating steps you will gradually develop, grow, refine and evolve your network.