Though the current generation of students has gone through most or all of their academic careers with the ability to use Google, a recent ethnographic study shows that they don’t quite know what to do with it.
156 students from five participating universities were interviewed about how they research and answered that they use Google more than any other database. 60 additional students were followed around their school’s library as they compiled research information. The study found that those students typically did not use Google effectively to cull their desired information and when they used other databases, they expected them to work the same as Google.
Other project analysis concluded that students “did not know how to build a search that would return good sources,” and that students “were clueless about the logic underlying how [Google] organizes and displays results.” Or perhaps they were just trying to conceal their reliance upon Wikipedia.