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JAKE CROMAN
WHY COLLEGE STUDENTS
NEED TO DEVELOP DIGITAL
RESEARCH SKILLS
"DIGITAL NATIVES"
Most of today’s college students–myself
included–are considered “digital
natives.” We grew up with the internet
and we’re used to living in a world where
we can Google the answer to anything
within seconds. But our comfort with
digital communication and smartphone
use doesn’t automatically translate into
our knowing how to digital research, or
how to navigate an overwhelming
information landscape with comparable
facility...
The internet represents a fundamental shift in how college
students learn and engage their coursework, gather information,
and conduct academic research. In the eyes of older generations,
the internet has made academic research appear effortless for
students–but that is not actually the case..
The explosion of digital material presents
both opportunities and unique challenges
to student scholars, especially those who
aren’t used to navigating journal
databases and massive amounts of
information.
College presents a great opportunity to cultivate digital
research skills, which then enable students to explore
more far-reaching questions about digital culture and its
effect on identities and relationships.
“The majority of students — of all levels — exhibited
significant difficulties that ranged across nearly every
aspect of the search process."
“They [the students] tended to overuse Google and misuse
scholarly databases. They preferred simple database
searches to other methods of discovery, but generally
exhibited ‘a lack of understanding of search logic’ which
often foiled their attempts to find good sources.”
ACCORDING TO RESEARCH OUT OF ILLINOIS WESLEYAN
UNIVERSITY THAT WAS HIGHLIGHTED IN THE ATLANTIC
TOOLS LIKE VIRTUAL
LEARNING
ENVIRONMENTS,
INFORMATION
DATABASES, AND SOCIAL
NETWORKS ARE
AMAZING RESEARCH
TOOLS, BUT THEY ARE
ONLY HELPFUL TO
STUDENTS WHO
UNDERSTAND HOW TO
USE THEM.
College professors and employers alike
expect young people to know their way
around the academic side of the Internet.
So, if young people are to meet these
expectations–if we want to thrive in this
era of digital information and
communication–we need to develop
digital competencies.
DIGITAL COMPETENCIES
We need to know how to do online
research.
From an academic standpoint, digital research skills enable
us to be better and more aware as learners. And on a larger
scale, college students who are digitally literate are more
capable of making contributions to the world–not only as
professionals, but as people.
DIGITAL COMPETENCIES:
College students need these skills beyond the world of
research and academia. Young people who have the
dexterity to carry out information-seeking tasks–whether
for school, work, or as part of the minutiae of everyday
life–have a major advantage over those who lack this skill.
DIGITALLY FLUENT:
Beyond being able to discern which
online sources are reliable and knowing
how to cite source materials properly,
having some degree of digital know-how
is needed these days, in order to excel
professionally and establish
independence.
Think about it: from setting up a wi-fi
network in your first apartment to
creating a personal website to impress
potential employers, the fittest and most
capable young graduates will be those
who are digitally fluent.
Living in a digital age brings a
paradox: as universities and
workplaces become increasingly
dependent on online
communications and information-
sharing, strong reading skills and
the ability to locate digital
information with efficiency have
become more important than
ever.
Similar to combatting traditional
illiteracy, overcoming
technological illiteracy begins with
education–and that kind of
learning should ideally start much
earlier.
Many childhood literacy experts are already questioning how the constant
presence of digital devices affect kids’ ability to interpret and understand
written information. While there is a bad rap young people get for “being glued
to their screens” or “addicted to texting,” digital media consumption can only be
harmful when parents, caregivers, and educators ignore their role in helping
kids navigate the digital landscape.
With that sort of guidance, college students will have the skills they need to
consume media of all kinds–print, digital, and everything in between.
For More From Jake Croman,
visit his website:
JakeCroman.Co
Jake Croman | Why College Students Need to Develop Digital Research Skills

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Jake Croman | Why College Students Need to Develop Digital Research Skills

  • 1. JAKE CROMAN WHY COLLEGE STUDENTS NEED TO DEVELOP DIGITAL RESEARCH SKILLS
  • 2. "DIGITAL NATIVES" Most of today’s college students–myself included–are considered “digital natives.” We grew up with the internet and we’re used to living in a world where we can Google the answer to anything within seconds. But our comfort with digital communication and smartphone use doesn’t automatically translate into our knowing how to digital research, or how to navigate an overwhelming information landscape with comparable facility...
  • 3. The internet represents a fundamental shift in how college students learn and engage their coursework, gather information, and conduct academic research. In the eyes of older generations, the internet has made academic research appear effortless for students–but that is not actually the case..
  • 4. The explosion of digital material presents both opportunities and unique challenges to student scholars, especially those who aren’t used to navigating journal databases and massive amounts of information. College presents a great opportunity to cultivate digital research skills, which then enable students to explore more far-reaching questions about digital culture and its effect on identities and relationships.
  • 5. “The majority of students — of all levels — exhibited significant difficulties that ranged across nearly every aspect of the search process." “They [the students] tended to overuse Google and misuse scholarly databases. They preferred simple database searches to other methods of discovery, but generally exhibited ‘a lack of understanding of search logic’ which often foiled their attempts to find good sources.” ACCORDING TO RESEARCH OUT OF ILLINOIS WESLEYAN UNIVERSITY THAT WAS HIGHLIGHTED IN THE ATLANTIC
  • 6. TOOLS LIKE VIRTUAL LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS, INFORMATION DATABASES, AND SOCIAL NETWORKS ARE AMAZING RESEARCH TOOLS, BUT THEY ARE ONLY HELPFUL TO STUDENTS WHO UNDERSTAND HOW TO USE THEM.
  • 7. College professors and employers alike expect young people to know their way around the academic side of the Internet. So, if young people are to meet these expectations–if we want to thrive in this era of digital information and communication–we need to develop digital competencies. DIGITAL COMPETENCIES
  • 8. We need to know how to do online research. From an academic standpoint, digital research skills enable us to be better and more aware as learners. And on a larger scale, college students who are digitally literate are more capable of making contributions to the world–not only as professionals, but as people. DIGITAL COMPETENCIES:
  • 9. College students need these skills beyond the world of research and academia. Young people who have the dexterity to carry out information-seeking tasks–whether for school, work, or as part of the minutiae of everyday life–have a major advantage over those who lack this skill.
  • 10. DIGITALLY FLUENT: Beyond being able to discern which online sources are reliable and knowing how to cite source materials properly, having some degree of digital know-how is needed these days, in order to excel professionally and establish independence. Think about it: from setting up a wi-fi network in your first apartment to creating a personal website to impress potential employers, the fittest and most capable young graduates will be those who are digitally fluent.
  • 11. Living in a digital age brings a paradox: as universities and workplaces become increasingly dependent on online communications and information- sharing, strong reading skills and the ability to locate digital information with efficiency have become more important than ever. Similar to combatting traditional illiteracy, overcoming technological illiteracy begins with education–and that kind of learning should ideally start much earlier.
  • 12. Many childhood literacy experts are already questioning how the constant presence of digital devices affect kids’ ability to interpret and understand written information. While there is a bad rap young people get for “being glued to their screens” or “addicted to texting,” digital media consumption can only be harmful when parents, caregivers, and educators ignore their role in helping kids navigate the digital landscape. With that sort of guidance, college students will have the skills they need to consume media of all kinds–print, digital, and everything in between.
  • 13. For More From Jake Croman, visit his website: JakeCroman.Co