In high school, assignments usually have one correct answer, one acceptable source of information and a teacher to guide you every step of the way. In college, assignments are typically more open-ended and demanding. You may have more freedom in the direction that your essay takes, and you usually need to find one or more sources on your own. Surprisingly, many college students are not very proficient at conducting research. Integrating digital humanities training into the undergraduate curriculum may improve research skills and provide practical benefits for the future of learning.
College students have the image of being independent and tech-savvy, but schools have uncovered a darker picture. Well into the digital age, instructors found that most college students do not conduct effective research. They tend to use Google and similar search engines when academic databases that search scholarly journals would be more appropriate. More surprisingly, they don’t use Google very efficiently. Most students in the studies reported that they had found a much higher percentage of relevant results than they really had.
Master Your Tools
By now, most individuals have used Google to conduct searches for years before getting to college, but they don’t understand the logic of a real search strategy. Google has the potential to turn up relevant and useful results, but, like all tools, its usefulness depends on its user. Students would get better results by using Google search functions such as filters to search academic journals, or by using proper keywords.
Digital Humanities Courses for Improving Modern Research Skills
Students can seek help from librarians, from writing centers on campus or online that may have tutorials or from professors. However, students often do not even know that they have trouble with research skills. Digital humanities courses teach college students how to better use Google and other research tools. They help bridge the gap between your intuition and computer languages. In these courses, students learn meta-design techniques and the fundamentals of translation via algorithms.
Benefits of Better Research Skills
Better research skills can really benefit you in the future. You can use your skills to develop company reports to present at meetings and possible to represent your company at larger conferences. Your boss may be very impressed with your skills in research, and you’ll be able to independently form and back up your opinions. Furthermore, you may be better at communications. You can target your writing based on your audience by choosing whether to use academic, journal-based sources or more conversational resources.
You’re certainly not alone if you’re not sure what database to use or you’re struggling to use search engines more effectively in your research. College courses in digital humanities research could help you become a better researcher while preparing you to be a more indispensable employee or manager in the future.