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U.S. Study Finds that Many College Students Do Not Know How to Use Google for Research

A new study has found that students have no clue about how to use Google to conduct online research.

The Ethnographic Research in Illinois Academic Libraries Project (ERIAL) study, conducted by five universities in Illinois to better understand the research habits of students, revealed that a majority of students frequently used Google for research, but had no idea how to conduct effective searches.

More than 150 students took part in the study across the five universities. A majority of the students claimed they prefered using Google when conducting online research than any other search engine.

The authors of the study claim that many students used the search engine poorly and had no idea how to optimise search terms to get the desired results.

“It wasn’t so much that students were inefficient in their use of Google, but rather that students are often ill-equipped to sufficiently evaluate or refine the results that are returned,” says Andrew Asher, an anthropologist at Bucknell University. “…I don’t think this is a problem limited to students,” he added.

The findings of the two-year long study will be published in the American Library Association this coming autumn.