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Free «Favorite Research Sources for College Students» Essay Sample


It has grown to be a widespread knowledge in college education that students count on the Internet to carry out researching for both academic as well as personal goals. Today’s conventional college students have never experienced a life with no Internet. What is more, the students in well-developed countries with constant Internet access normally depend highly on the Internet for interacting, making friends, and obtaining information, which includes the facts they utilize for research-writing assignments for college (Smith, et al., 2011).  A few scholars (for example, Tensen, 2010), librarians (for example, Thompson, 2003), and reporters (for example, Carr, 2011) have complained about this dependence, that college students accomplish scientific studies in a “Googlepedia” environment. Yet, why they do it is unclear. This work provides findings from a research that tries to discover why. The research attempts to respond to the subsequent research questions: (1) What internet research resources do college students claim that they work with? (2) Which of those do they choose as their preferred? (3) For what reason do they choose these research resources as their preferred ones? To respond to these types of issues, this paper states the findings from a questionnaire that asked 100 writing students about which research resources they employed and why particular internet-based research resources appeared to be their preferred ones. The research discovered that students most typically noted favoring resources for factors of convenience, good quality, as well as connectivity. Such outcomes provide a more complicated view of student commitment compared to popular stories of disengaged, sluggish, and unknowing college students.



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This work makes a contribution to present-day literature by providing information about students’ motivations for choosing internet research resources and, consequently, their strategies of research. Understanding of these motivations can result in a more successful research and research-writing patterns. It could likewise notify future research of students’ investigative attempts and research-producing methods.

Literature review

A lot of research on students’ digital study practices successfully improves our comprehension of the nature as well as outcomes of students’ utilization of the Internet for research along with research-creating. A reduced amount of studies, nevertheless, accepts motivations for this utilization. Research dealing with students’ motivations has a similar tendency to handle students’ motives for choosing specific source texts as opposed to the methods to locate those texts.

Library as well as information science scholars similarly have considered directly the research conduct of college students. Their investigation, along with search tool design and studying source retrieval, has investigated explicitly why students select specific internet-based research sources. McClure and Clink (2009), for example, examined the bibliographic quotes in one hundred research papers created by students in their writing lessons during the first year at college. They analyzed students’ source utilization taking into consideration three factors frequently employed for assessing Internet sources: recognition, timeliness and prejudice. Their research offers a helpful profound perspective into students’ choice of Web source content, yet does so in the light  of only the earlier mentioned three source properties.

Other research of students’ source choice has concentrated on a wider selection of factors. Fister’s (1992) research of 14 undergraduate students determined that the information or subject is the principal characteristic students focused on during their research. Kim and Sin (2007) discovered some other aspects to have an effect on students’ choices. In their study of 225 undergraduate pupils, they come to understand that students appreciated consistency/reliability most, accompanied by ease of access and use, when producing source selections.


To discover which research resources college students utilize and choose as their preferred ones, and for what reason, a questionnaire was created on students’ ideas about their research strategies and dispositions. 100 students completed questionnaires anonymously. Students, who filled out the questionnaire, comprised 50 freshmen as well as 50 sophomores.

Results and Analysis

It appeared that the resources students specified as possessing the most significance for their investigation were all of Internet origin. According to the ratings  indicated by students,  the open public search engines, most notably Yahoo and Google , academic search engines, for example, Google Scholar, and also a library Internet database JSTOR  displayed the best median ratings, 7.80, 7.90, and 5.60 (from10), correspondingly. Obviously, college students considered Internet research resources most significant.

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The sample volume, however, is too modest and not adequately inclusive to bring specified findings with regard to why students have a preference for specific electronic research resources. Findings, for that reason, are essentially primary. The data described here originated from students of a single college, so may not connect with students at some other  universities.

In keeping with their responses pertaining to the research resources they appreciate, students overwhelmingly acknowledged that their most popular Internet research resources are Google and Google Scholar. Overall, all non-Google research resources showed only 26 % of students’ preferred research resources, strengthening Google’s prominence. This prominence displays Hargittai, et al.’s (2010) finding that the Google company received beneficial emotional reactions from the students they monitored and surveyed. Library databases as well as the library Website also appeared inside the top five responses. Nonetheless, students specified them as their preferable for merely 13 % of the total replies. This proportion is likely to be too reduced than the majority of academic librarians as well as writing teachers would wish.

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These results correspond to some degree with those of Head and Eisenberg(2011). In their survey of about 8,350 students from 25 American colleges, Head and Eisenberg (2011) discovered 95 % of students pointed out utilizing search engines like Google during the last 6 months to locate day-to-day life details. They similarly discovered that students typically utilized Google for course-connected research (although students initially conferred with course readings as opposed to Google).

Simplicity of use was the primary reason why students pointed out that they decided on a research resource as their preferred. Students presented this cause 65 times, more than twice as many times as any other cause, demonstrating its prominence in leading students’ decision-making. On top of “simple” reactions, this group of reasoning incorporated “easy to utilize,” “clearly defined,” “easy to manage,” “self-educational,” “do not have to be trained [on the way to use] it,” as well as “quite evident format.” In general, students deemed less complicated as more desirable.

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This disposition for simplicity influences students’ motives for online source choices. Burton and Chadwick (2000), for example, discovered that the two top factors why students decided on specific Internet sources were that they were “effortless to comprehend” and “simple to locate“ .

Even though this kind of favoring of simplicity may be observed as a result of student idleness, another reason why students regarded a research resource as their favored was high quality. Students pointed out that they preferred a resource that produces reliable, reputable, and academic sources. Typical answers in this category contain “more trustworthy,” “simply because, you understand, it is scholarly,” “great for academic articles,” “it’s academic quality websites and data,” and “I am aware of that I could use it for suitable research for my paper.” The fact that students concurrently appreciated scholarliness and preferred Google as well as Google Scholar could indicate a misconception of the academic level of Google’s search results and an overdependence on Google Scholar understands of a scholarly paper. This conclusion corresponds with Hargittai et al.’s (2010) finding that students put excessive confidence in search engines to elicit reputable results. This result could likewise signify that simplicity of use overpowers the true scholarly level in the hierarchy of students’ motivations.

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The third  typical explanation students reported as helping their choice of preferred research resource seemed to be connectivity. To put it differently, they appreciated a resource’s electronic affordance to link immediately to a source text. Replies showing this motivation are “it will take you to internet directories,” “it connects straight with full text and academic journals,” “it brings data together,” and “a lot of links to new information.” Basically, students appreciated the hyperlink feature, the capacity of electronic research resources to bring them immediately to desired texts. In the same way, students indicated the preference of resources that granted access to pdf-files of the texts they sought after. These outcomes indicate that students count on and appreciate “all-inclusive” resources - the ones that offer not only bibliographic data of a source, but the very source too.


This research shows that students favored research resources that they consider simple and direct to the point. They also favored resources that yield scholarly search results. They preferred resources that provide a connection immediately to desired texts as opposed to providing merely bibliographic details. Students pointed out they were less inspired by how rapidly a resource shows results or if it provides an assortment of results. They tended to be less encouraged by whether a resource offered appropriate sources. Taking into account their responses, it appears that students implicitly claimed that searching for any academic source was more essential that obtaining an academic source tightly related to their subject. This position could clarify their occasionally improper or complicated source selections for academic research-writing assignments. Students appear to understand well that academic sources are essential. In fact, they seemingly value the scholarly tag as more significant than a source’s information. In order to provide guidance, teachers could ask students to clarify the connection of each source they use to their task. The purpose is to persuade students to rationalize their incorporation of sources above their distinction as “scholarly.” Another strategy is to speak clearly with students with regard to the necessity for and worth of appropriate, not just academic, sources. Possibly, most essential is cultivating in students a perspective of academic research as fundamental to knowledge generation. A key element to attaining this goal is prompting students to carry out their own studies for research-writing assignments.


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