I cringe every time it happens. Teachers treat it like it’s expected, normal even, but they never quite seem to get it. Expecting us to do all or most of our research in books or other print sources is unrealistic and does not reflect the post-internet environment. Particularly important, and rarely respected by educators, is the distinction between print-origin and print-format sources. Many teachers differentiate between the two, and only count print-origin sources, at the expense of online databases of print-origin pieces, like digitized journal articles. This is detrimental to the research process because it restricts research to items available in print, which, let’s face it, are not exactly widespread. Sure, the library has a lot of books, but having lots of books doesn’t help a research project on a high school time budget. We just don’t have the time to read four books in order to write a paper.
The modern research climate is not suited to the use of print materials for research. Most sources are digitized, and search features makes research must faster. However, very few books have a searchable index that doesn’t need a trip to the library, which, while fun, takes time we don’t have.
Furthermore, requiring the use of print sources increases the temptation to plagiarize. Students know that teachers won’t take the time to read all of the books they cite, so it’s easy enough, and very tempting, to claim that a book says something, somewhere in the middle, that supports your argument and seems like the kind of thing it might say. Lack of accountability and increasing labor costs leads to decrease in scholarly standards.
The library has an excellent database system available through its website. Why shouldn’t we be allowed to use this source, which is just as reliable as books? The library database system searches a large number of scholarly databases, including the Encyclopædia Britannica and ProQuest. Close to 100 databases can be accessed individually. Independent of this system is the online journal search, which connects users to several hundred peer reviewed and scholarly journals.
So I ask you: What really is so wrong with citing internet sources?
–Aidan, Teen Center Advisor