We live in highly technology era which means that the Internet is easily accessible and it is fast. You get up to date news and the results you get are diverse. On the other hand you can spend hours researching, as there is no structure as going to a library and looking at resources. Some sites are not credible and sites may disappear. Tim Berners-Lee-world Wide Web founder summarised it well in the following quotation " Technology innovation is starting to explode and having open -source materials out there really helps this explosion. You get students and researchers involved and you get people coming through and building start-ups based on open source products".
It is awesome how the internet has magnificently transformed people's life styles, society, government and World Wide. In the nineteenth centuries, the internet has been considered as a way of enhancing human beings quality of life by reducing stress, saving time and most especially being cost effective. Rarely do you find a household that doesn't have a computer or access to the internet, since it has become part and parts of our lives. The computer whiz calls it; E-Life (electronic life). Turning to the internet has obviously become Students first choice and it's getting more popular daily. Students are the third most common users of the internet for researching purposes because it is beneficial to their studies, time savings, cheaper and easier to conduct than using the traditional method of research. It is amazing to discover that student can access various information materials page by page for their works and references on all sorts of topics.
This great invention has created a great technology revolution in education. The growing of electronic learning is now being described as volatile, extraordinary and above all some people find it disruptive and intimidating.
One of the major assets of the internet is the flexibility, convenience, accessibility at home, work and even through a wireless device. The internet invention is an outstanding communication channel to the whole world as communication enriches our lives. This invention has also transformed the speed of communication, increase the development of the society and nations. The internet brings a lot of challenges in research because some students copy and paste which is illegal and has criminal consequences and also may result in their assessment were disqualified through plagiarism. Students spent hours on an end search on the internet and this has health and safety issues. The havoc it poses is minimal in comparison to the magnitude benefit derived from it. I will aspire to illustrate the merits and the demerits of using this new technology invention for research purposes.
The internet is unimaginable powerful research assistance, but can also be time wasting, frustrating and misleading. However, it has a great future and the benefits are numerous. Although the internet may appear to be more advantageous than using the library, one has to look at the quality Web based information as in most cases no reviews and evaluations have been done by experts on the subject. There is vast information of data that can be accessed to aid with independent learning. There are 4 billions uniquely published web pages and according to Maureen Henninger, author of "Don't Just surf the net: Effective Research Strategies (UNSW Press) only 6% of sites have educational content".
According to "search Watch" the organisation that monitors and evaluates on line Tool Engines Google provides the best performance. With the help of 'bot' engine (search engine) researching couldn't be easier, using internet for research is mainly to gather evidencebased resources materials, extract numerous and diverse sample which increases information power and different from university based research. There are varieties of site available with lots of qualitative academics information to enhance knowledge and understanding on specific area of studies. And whatever you achieve from Web analysis depends upon the successful effort that is distinct only to it, so there should be no compromise to the quality of one research.
It can be excellent place for resources and knowledge most especially for students if used wisely, as it plays an integral role in their education life. With books been so expensive and sometimes unavailable it removes barriers to learning, as some subject experts are available on site to answer questions on a specific subject you are researching on. This could be a disadvantage because again it might not be credible source or their knowledge may be limited. The Internet research may enhance analytical skills, as well as information technology.
Whatever research or question you have on any particular subject or topic sure there is a site that will help your search as there are tremendous amount of information available for any subject using specific words or phrase Especially if the advance search facility is used.
What is the use of library since we've got the Internet? It is common knowledge that the majority of students prefer researching on the Internet rather than the traditional library. This is advantageous in that you can sit in the comfort of your home and research extensively twenty-four seven for those who know how to do advance searches but can be equally frustrating and time consuming. Research have shown that quality well equip library improve student's achievement; even lecturers have notice that the qualities of information on research are decreasing as students are mainly depending on the Internet. Most students believe everything is available on the Internet unknowingly to them that there are only 6% of educational contents on the Internet, though unlike books which are only current at the time of print, the Internet information can be updated keeping by researchers informed of new development and changes as the average life of web page is 75days.
As it with all new invention, the Internet has its own downside. Also with the volatile growing of the World Wide Web in public awareness and increasing in amount of information it takes in, the Internet is not totally secure and theft is one of the numerous danger it poses, researchers personal information is at risk of being access by rogue persons. 
The internet can be seen as excellent research tools but the danger is that it has to be carefully and critically use; some of the materials on the internet have not been evaluated by experts or thoroughly screened. Anyone with web knowledge and a server can published anything on the internet, as there is no quality control over information on it. As discussed earlier this makes it difficult to evaluate the resource. The following points are guidelines for assessing specific resource.
- Who is the author of those materials?
- What are the author qualifications?
- Has he written any materials before?
- Has the author name given?
- Has the author have a link with any reputable organisation?
- Is it the author's own work or is it borrowed from another author?
- Are the materials resource outdated, current and when was the last review done?
The Internet arrangement can be quite confusing in comparison with highly advanced categorisation system exhibited by libraries and archives. As a result of this disorganising and non structural arrangement, students need effective searching skills for extensive and good research on their specific topic.
Web based research is time consuming, frustrating, distracting and misleading, researchers should regularly go back to the question or assignment instruction to ensure that they've not been diverted by wealth of information available for use. The Internet Jam-packed with numerous information both relevant and irrelevant; therefore students are bound to be greatly tempted to use resources without referencing the author.
The thesis has evaluated in details the usefulness and downside of web based research in compiling, analysing and fact finding. According to my research the Internet has its advantages and disadvantages. On the beneficial side it is cost effective for wide academic research and with the necessary study skills one can carry out credible current research with the added advantage of cost effective for wide accessibility. Having said this it is also getting more difficult and complicated to find accurate information and gather authentic resources as some data are relevant and some are not. Effort are being made towards solving this knotty invention, researchers are developing new web technology management and artificial intelligence techniques that can be use to process information by automated tools as well as human. This will grease the wheels and enhance qualitative searches on all web sites. In my opinion the Internet can be a useful resource but it should be used in conjunction with traditional methods and the credibility of the site should be evaluated. In addition search engines are continually improving and search engines such as goggle have started scanning books therefore there is hope for credible research in the future.
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- Inoue, Yukiko, & Bell, Susan, Teaching with Educational Technology in 21st Century (London,UK: Information Science Publishing 2006) 96-98.