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Do you allow your students to or suggest to them that they use the internet as the first step in a research paper? Why or why not? In college, they are just going to get it done as fast as they can and this might be a time saving step-reading general things about the subject and trying to narrow down before reading books. On the other hand, this is high school and I'm homeschooling to give them time to enjoy reading about a topic and work their way down to something to write about.

 

Thoughts?

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No, they start with background research in a general encyclopedia and any available subject encyclopedias. Often, this work is done through an electronic database at a library website, but that's different from a general internet search.

 

I also require that they use several real books and several journal articles for their full research papers, and I limit the web resources to those from reputable sources (usually a .edu or .gov, but I will consider others if they can find proof of credentials on the site.)

 

All of the college papers I've written lately required journal articles and limited the number of general web sources, so I don't think getting them used to just general googling for info is necessarily going to teach them how to write in college.

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I discourage it. Sometimes I'll let them use the internet to start getting ideas for the broad outline/scope of the paper, to get ideas flowing, but for the actual research I prefer books, or if something current, magazine/journal articles. I will allow reputable sites (and teach them how to tell the difference), for some sources, but preferably a minority.

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No, they start with background research in a general encyclopedia and any available subject encyclopedias. Often, this work is done through an electronic database at a library website, but that's different from a general internet search.

 

I also require that they use several real books and several journal articles for their full research papers, and I limit the web resources to those from reputable sources (usually a .edu or .gov, but I will consider others if they can find proof of credentials on the site.)

 

Yes, this way. My daughter's university requires all freshmen to take a research paper writing course (no AP exemptions, everyone must take this). After generating a topic/thesis (and for that the internet might be useful), the students begin by using an electronic library database to locate a mix of journal articles and books. Journal articles are printed out and real books are located, through inter-library loan if necessary. There is even a designated day when they have to cart the whole load into the classroom to show the texts to their teacher.:) A full bibliography is required at that stage, too.

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I absolutely encourage the kids to use the internet first. I require books and other sources for a research paper, but the internet helps them figure out their direction and focus and even figure out what the terminology is to use in a book search.

 

The internet mustn't be the only place researched, but it is an efficient way to get a jumpstart.

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I see no problem in allowing the student to read about the topic on the internet first to get a general idea what is going on and to identify the issue they want to research. After that, acceptable sources are books and journals. But for a quick overview and for scanning different options I do not see why the student should NOT use the medium that any other person would do to find out something quick about a topic. That almost all internet sites are not citable sources in a serious paper goes without saying.

I do not see why an out-pf-date printed encyclopedia is considered superior for this (after all, you don't cite the encyclopedia either since it juts gives you a sound bite, but use it as a jump-off point for your research.)

 

My husband is a professor for physics with an active research program. Very often, his search for material on a new topic begins with google search. The search finds names of people working in the field and preprints of their journal articles which are then, of course, printed out and read. The scientists first publish their papers in an online archive, before they get submitted to, and printed in, peer reviewed scientific journals. It has been an established procedure to give these online archive articles citable numbers, everybody reads and uses them. Publication times in journals are just too long for the cutting edge stuff.

Once the paper is published in the print journal, nobody goes to the library and gets a physical copy either - you find it online.

Edited by regentrude
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Thank you all for the input. It sounds like you all are saying really similar things: Encourage the student to read in a very general way to quickly learn and narrow the topic a little (or to get a topic) before digging into books and article. I'll add that to my how to do a research paper notes.

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I see no problem in allowing the student to read about the topic on the internet first to get a general idea what is going on and to identify the issue they want to research. After that, acceptable sources are books and journals. But for a quick overview and for scanning different options I do not see why the student should NOT use the medium that any other person would do to find out something quick about a topic. That almost all internet sites are not citable sources in a serious paper goes without saying.

I do not see why an out-pf-date printed encyclopedia is considered superior for this (after all, you don't cite the encyclopedia either since it juts gives you a sound bite, but use it as a jump-off point for your research.)

:iagree:

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After generating a topic/thesis (and for that the internet might be useful), the students begin by using an electronic library database to locate a mix of journal articles and books.

DS does online searches while considering topics and narrowing down to a question, but actual references need to be journal articles or books.

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