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Student Use of the Internet for Research Projects: A Problem? Our Problem? What Can We Do About It?

  • Andrew M. Robinson (a1) and Karen Schlegl (a2)


The Internet and other electronic media have changed the way undergraduate students conduct research. The effects of this technological change on the role of the professor are still not well understood. This article reports on the findings of a recent study that evaluated the scholarly content of student citations in a political science course and tested two interventions designed to improve their quality. The study finds that these students' use of electronic sources was not as poor as some may have assumed, and that the quality of bibliographies improved when in-class instruction was combined with academic penalties. This article reflects on the study's findings, and offers suggestions for how instructors might encourage students to improve the quality of their research.


Corresponding author

Andrew M. Robinson is assistant professor of political science and contemporary studies at Wilfrid Laurier University in Brantford, Ontario.
Karen Schlegl is collections/reference librarian at the McNally Library at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.


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