Google: Teens' Primary Tool for Research

Jim Liebelt | Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University | Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Google: Teens' Primary Tool for Research

Google is the primary way teenagers conduct research in today’s digital world, according to new Pew research. Teachers say teens are most likely to first turn to Google or another search engine as their main research tool 94 percent of the time.

Google is more popular than Wikipedia or other online encyclopedia sites, YouTube or other social media sites, major news sites like The New York Times and CNN, and “traditional” sources of information (e.g., textbooks, print books, online databases, and research librarians), according to The Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project’s new study on “How Teens Do Research in the Digital World”. 

According to the study, "Ultimately, some teachers say, for students today, 'research = Googling.' Specifically asked how their students would define the term 'research,' most teachers felt that students would define the process as independently gathering information by 'looking it up' or 'Googling.' And when asked how middle and high school students today “do research,” the first response in every focus group, teachers and students, was 'Google.'"

Pew noted that 99 percent of the teachers surveyed either “strongly agree” or “somewhat agree” with the idea that “search engines have conditioned students to expect to be able to find information quickly and easily.” However, the teachers surveyed fear search engines may lead to unreliable sources.

Source: Search Engine Watch