Fighting Words – Googling To/for Dummies

The NYT has a provocative op-ed today on whether students are being so spoon fed by search engines that they lose their ability to research and think for themselves.

We have to warn articling students about the dangers of Googling, but after a while, they’re back on the engines.

Are we just too trusting about web-based research?


  1. Is it online research we distrust? or is it a lack of authority evaluation skills generally? If the sources are well chosen, does it matter if it’s the print or online edition? Most of us aren’t reading a paper edition of the NYTimes these days… Media shouldn’t make that much of a difference.

    The fact that students take the easy way out shouldn’t surprise. Coles notes anyone? Critical thinking and writing are still learned skills that take time to develop. I’m just not sure that some 19 year old that google’s his homework wouldn’t have chosen an equally easy research method 20 years earlier.

  2. I have tried to address this issue in teaching law students by teaching how to use the Advanced Google search features, for which I have occasionally received flack from colleagues. I don’t think you can stop students from doing this, and I’m not sure of the efficacy of information literacy programmes. As Steve says, students like the rest of us, take the easy way out, and if it works most of the time hey.

    I have found a lot of the Pew Internet and American Life project reports helpful in thinking abou this: