Is Google making us stupid? Especially in research

Added by Sarah on 01 August 2008 00:00

The cover story of the July/August issue in the American-based magazine Atlantic, by Nick Carr argues that Google is changing the way that people who spend a lot of online searching, think.

He argues that using the Internet has caused him to become incapable of concentrating anymore, and that ‘deep’ reading, especially of books, is now too hard, as he considers that the Internet has eroded his ability to concentrate and contemplate. In his article he talks about various experiments which are now being done to look at the long-term neurological and psychological cognitive effects of using the Internet.
RIN have recently published a study looking at the training needs of researchers, called Mind the skills gap: Information-handling training for researchers (July 2008), which discovered that their training provision is not very well coordinated and needs to take a better, systematic, account of researchers needs. One of the issues that some librarians who took part in the study raised, was that younger (particularly undergraduate) researchers think they have good research skills through using search engines like Google, but what they don?t always grasp, is that there are a lot more sophisticated (and probably more reliable/valid in an academic sense) sources of information out there.

Do you think the Internet is changing the way you think? Have you noticed any difference in your learning patterns over the last few years? Do you have the patience to read ‘real books’ anymore? Do you think the research skills you are taught in university could be improved, especially in the age of the Internet? Let us know what you think, you can make a comment by clicking on the heading above and then using the fill-in form on the table at the bottom of the page.

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