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We have all heard it before: lamentations that our students are not conducting research in appropriate ways. For teachers, this lament often takes the form of concern that students are using too many online sources and that they are not using the scholarly search engines from the library to find appropriate resources for their papers. Consequently, instructors sometimes restrict the number of Internet sources a student can consult--or even forbid students from using the Internet as a resource.

From the perspective of those who arrange and control the scholarly resources that instructors urge students to use, the lament often takes the form of the two following questions:

  1. Why don't students make use of scholarly resources?
  2. In what ways are students' search practices defective? (A prevailing assumption is that either students don't want to make use of more challenging resources or that they do want to use them, but are not skilled enough to find the best resources.)

These laments comprise the foundation of much research into digital searching. As a result, researchers who are attempting to understand online search practices often begin with the assumption that the goal is to get students to use scholarly resources effectively. For these researchers, the challenge is to get students to use the right online sources; for us, the challenge is to move beyond the notion that students' use of the 'wrong' online sources means that they are not serious or engaged researchers.

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A Beginning
A Lament
A Challenge

Literature Review

A Crossroads
Research in Writing Studies
Research in Other Disciplines
Alternative Research

Methods & Methodology

Methodological Frameworks
Specific Methods

Findings: Multiple Tool Use

Everybody Loves Google. . .
Googling Graduate Student Style
Googling Undergraduates
. . . They Love Too
Amazon Remediated
Last Stop: Library
Libraries Remediated
Academic Resource Responses

Findings: Playing Online

Playing Researcher
Janine Plays
Adrian Plays
Academic Play

New Directions

Further Research