Digital Citizenship & Internet Maturity Blog

2023-04-21

Just "Googling" or Smart Searching? There is a Big Difference!

Using Google to search for information is something we do without giving any second thoughts. Dont we? It's super convenient, but be aware that not all the information you find on the Internet is trustworthy or accurate. When using Google, Bing, Yahoo or any other search engine, it is important to critically evaluate the sources of the information you find. Look for sources that are trustworthy, authoritative, and credible.

 

The importance of knowing about the trustworthy knowledge sources

On the other hand, if you are looking for trustworthy knowledge, it can be helpful to use Google to search for information from reliable sources such as academic journals, government websites, and reputable news organizations. These sources are generally more reliable than sites that are trying to sell you something or have a particular bias.
It is also important to consider the context in which you are using the information. Is it for a school assignment or research project where you need to use reliable sources? Or are you just looking for general information that doesn't need to be particularly accurate or well-sourced?

 

The importance of doing a background check on the sources of information

It is important to do a background check on the sources of information that you find on Google (or any other search engine). Only then you can determine whether they are trustworthy, authoritative, and credible. There are a few different things you can do to do a background check on the sources of information you find:

  • Check the author: Who wrote the information? Do they have any expertise or credentials in the subject area?
  • Check the publisher: Who published the information? Is it a reputable source?
  • Check the date: Is the information current? Is it still relevant?
  • Check for bias: Does the source have any bias or agenda? Is the information presented objectively, or is it trying to promote a particular point of view?

By doing these things, you can get a better sense of the reliability and credibility of the sources of the information you find. This can help you determine whether the information is trustworthy and whether it is appropriate to use in your research or other projects.

 

The importance of choosing the right keywords in your search query

Choosing the right keywords in your search query is important because it can help you find more relevant and accurate results. When you use the wrong keywords, you are more likely to get a lot of irrelevant results, which can be frustrating and time-consuming. Here are a few tips for choosing the right keywords:

  • Be specific: Use specific keywords rather than broad, general ones. For example, instead of using the keyword "dog" use "german shepherd".
  • Use quotation marks: Use quotation marks around phrases to search for an exact match. For example, searching for "dog training" will return results with those two words next to each other, rather than results about dogs and results about training.
  • Use Boolean operators: Boolean operators such as AND, OR, and NOT can help you narrow or expand your search. For example, using AND will return results that contain both keywords, while using OR will return results that contain either keyword.
  • Use a minus sign: Use a minus sign (-) to exclude a word from your search. For example, if you search for "dog training" -tricks, you will get results about dog training but not tricks.

By using these techniques, you can help ensure that you get more relevant and accurate results when you search for information on the Internet.

 

Digital citizenship & Internet Maturity skills are essential to make children better at searching knowledge online. 'Smart Searching' is a core topic of the DCIM subject. Under this topic a student learns the following things in detail:

  • What is 'content pollution' on the Internet (including fake news & misinformation).
  • How to avoid content pollution using the When-Who-Why technique, which covers detailed background check techniques.
  • Selecting the right keywords for searching.
  • Sources of trustworthy information, such as some reputed encyclopedias or websites, academic journals, OCWs or MOOCs.
  • Managing one's personal knowledge library.
  • Avoiding 'Information Overload'.

While 'Smart Searching' is a critical topic under the subject of DCIM, other topics of DCIM are also important for a student to become a smart knowledge finder in the following ways:

  • Knowledge of social networking: this is important for background checks of content creators or finding text, images or videos inside Facebook, Instagram etc which are not indexed by Google.
  • Knowledge of professional networking: this too is important for background checks of content creators or finding text, images or videos inside LInkedin which is not indexed by Google.
  • Knowledge of online discussion forums: this is important because a lot of specialized knowledge is in the form of questions & answers on online discussions forum.
  • Knowledge of blogs: this is important because blog articles are amongst the biggest source of expert knowledge in detailed format.
  • Knowledge of OCWs and MOOCs: this is important because OCWs and MOOCs can be the sources of highly trustworthy academic knowledge.
  • Knowledge online safety threats: this is important because a student must know how anti-social elements plant fake-news and other harmful information on the Internet.

 

Online searching is one of the most important activities you do on the Internet. Make sure you learn to do it right! You personal and professional success reatly depends upon this skill.
 

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