How To Teach Online Research Skills: A Guide for Educators

A 10-Step Guide for Teaching Online Research Skills
  • Step 1: Explain Domains. …
  • Step 2: Search Best Domains. …
  • Step 3: Search Best Websites. …
  • Step 4: Search Encyclopedias. …
  • Step 5: Be More Specific. …
  • Step 6: Find Specific Facts. …
  • Step 7: Seek Specific Results. …
  • Step 8: Seek Time-Specific Info.

The Joy of Search: Adventures in teaching online research skills – Daniel M. Russell

How to teach online research skills

To teach students how to conduct online research effectively, follow these steps:

1. Make time in your curriculum

Although you have important material to cover in class, taking the time to teach students how to search effectively is a crucial first step in developing their online citizenship. Even students in higher grades may require direct instruction on how to use search engines, search terms, and online databases even though they may be familiar with a variety of digital apps and social media platforms. Before asking students to conduct research for particular lesson content at the beginning of the year, it might be helpful to schedule a time to teach or review these fundamental skills.

2. Explain how to evaluate sources

Understanding which sources can deliver the most reliable information about a topic is the first step in conducting effective online research. direct explanation of the distinction between research conducted on websites that end in com, . org and . Students can learn about the significance of domain names and how they impact the reliability of information by using edu. Explain to students why particular domains are the best places to find information that is factual and objective. Think about incorporating guidance on how to determine whether websites present facts or opinions or if they employ any biased language to describe a topic.

3. Teach students to be specific

How search terms can impact the caliber of your online research should be taught to students. Demonstrate to students how word choice affects how they find information To help students create search terms based on their research topic’s main ideas and any pertinent subtopics, have them identify the main ideas of the topic. Describe how a general search term can be useful for discovering more precise information, which can then trigger additional searches using more precise information.

4. Model searching for valid information

Teaching students the most effective ways to use search terms and recognize reliable sources is an efficient way to teach them how to conduct online research. Students can learn the proper procedure for finding reliable information by participating in a model lesson where you conduct an online search for academic content. Show how you select search terms from a list, then demonstrate how you assess which sources will provide the most accurate information. An interactive note sheet that serves as a resource for students allows them to fill in key concepts from your lesson as they follow along.

5. Give students a chance to practice

Give students the opportunity to practice online research after you’ve finished a sample lesson by giving them tasks that emphasize the process rather than the content. Ask students to evaluate a source critically and to explain why one offers more accurate information than another. Give students the chance to write about the specifics they discovered in a source to bolster their argument. Assigning students to work in pairs or teams to conduct online research and discuss their options is another way to give them more practice.

Why is teaching online research skills important?

Teaching students how to conduct online research equips them with the skills they need to effectively locate and assess online sources of information. These skills can help students make the most of online resources for both academic and personal purposes. Students who master the use of search engines and online databases for topic research increase their computer literacy, which may have an effect on their future academic and professional pursuits.

Teaching students how to conduct online research helps them develop their critical thinking skills and equips them to conduct independent research on any subject. Students can become more proficient at gathering information for assignments by receiving direct instruction on how to conduct online research.

Examples of research skills

The following are a few illustrations of the key abilities required for online research:

Critical thinking

Learning to evaluate information from websites and think critically about sources is beneficial for students. The ability to reason is a crucial skill for assessing whether a source provides accurate or useful information about a subject. Students can hone this skill by posing inquiries about sources like:


Students who conduct online research must tenaciously look for the most relevant data to illuminate and bolster a subject. High-quality resources can be found by being patient and carefully sorting through numerous search results. For students to succeed in online research, they must cultivate the patience required. By searching past the first two or three pages of results to find more resources, students can practice this skill.


Intellectual property rights education is a crucial component of the online research instruction process. It’s crucial that students learn how to use information honestly and give credit where credit is due by citing sources.

Students should also learn to spot plagiarism and sources that don’t give due credit to the original creators of any intellectual property. By developing this skill, students can learn how to properly acknowledge sources in bibliographies or work cited pages at the conclusion of writing assignments. To practice this skill, have students maintain a bibliography page and update it whenever they find a new source.

Recording information

Students can learn to make notes on important concepts as they conduct online research Students practice selecting the most pertinent information to support their ideas by writing down information. Other circumstances, like recoding information from a presentation or meeting, call for the use of note-taking skills. Students engage in critical thinking as they choose which facts from their sources are most crucial to record. Asking students to compile a list of the most crucial details from each source will help them practice this.

Attention to detail

Students must also look for information about a source’s author, type of publication, and particular features when conducting online research. When selecting keywords for a search engine or analyzing search results, students can hone their attention-to-detail skills. Students can locate more accurate information for academic purposes by carefully examining a resource and the kind of information it contains. Ask students to discuss how adding specifics to their search terms improved their ability to find relevant information to help students develop this skill.

Time management

Students’ time-management skills are enhanced when they discover how to locate materials and information quickly to finish a project. This ability aids students in striking a balance between the time spent actually conducting research for an assignment and the time spent looking through sources for relevant information. Consider setting a time limit for students to locate a certain number of sources. Encourage students to start taking notes and writing a draft of their research paper or project outline once the allotted time has passed.

Tips for teaching online research skills

The following suggestions will help you learn and practice your online research techniques more thoroughly:


What are the five research skills online?

The 6 Online Research Skills Your Students Need
  • Check Your Sources. The Skill: Assessing the accuracy, validity, applicability for purposes, significance, and social and cultural context of information from sources.
  • Ask Good Questions. …
  • Go Beyond the Surface. …
  • Be Patient. …
  • Respect Ownership. …
  • Use Your Networks.

How do you teach research skills?

Five Ways to Teach Research Skills to Elementary School Children
  1. Define the task. What exactly must be researched? …
  2. Discover keywords. …
  3. Use appropriate tools. …
  4. Teach about source hierarchy and evaluation. …
  5. Take notes and compile information. …
  6. Setting up a lifelong skill.

What skills can you teach online?

7 Online Teaching Skills Worth Developing
  • Time Management. …
  • Stimulating Virtual Learning Environment. …
  • Communication Skills. …
  • Use of Feedback. …
  • Adaptability & Curriculum Support. …
  • Engage Students. …
  • Constant Learning & Subject Expertise.

Why is it important for the students to have online research skill?

Why is it so important? Critical writing and online research abilities are among the prerequisites for students to succeed in college and in their future careers. According to studies, young people don’t pay attention to the reliability of the sources they use and are unable to articulate why they chose particular websites, authors, or publications.

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