December 5th, 2008

BEWARE GROUP THINK

A recent article by Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow from the Boston Globe, “Group Think”, discusses the potential pitfalls of online research. While the good side of online research is that it allows searchers to access all kinds of useful material that may have been hard to find previously, the problem is that many people only review and access the top results. Because results are ranked higher the more they are accessed or linked to, this can lead to a sort of “group think” because everyone ends up exposed to only a few points of view.

This is something to watch out for when you are conducting your own research. Be sure to look past page one of the results or to try a few different searches that will help you pull up a wider variety of information.

As Tuhus-Dubrow states, “The common lesson of all of these phenomena is to be cognizant that the tools we use affect us in ways we may not fully appreciate. We should always be searching, the findings suggest, for new ways to search.” If you need some ideas for new ways to search, you can find some additional search tools and strategies on the library’s Guides & Tutorials page.

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