In a study on research habits, Wellesley College researchers
Panagiotis Metaxas and Leah Graham found that fewer than 2 percent of
students in one Wellesley computer science class bothered to use
non-Internet sources to answer all six test questions.
students failed to check out multiple sources. For instance, 63 percent
of students asked to list Microsoft Corp.'s top innovations only
visited the company's Web site in search of the answer.
It's a paradox to some that so many young Americans can be so accepting of online information whose origin is unclear.
... is part of their lives, yet they tend to believe things fairly
readily because it appears on the Internet," said Roger Casey, who
studies youths and pop culture at Rollins College in Winter Park,
One concern is commercial influence online; some search
engines run ads and accept payments to include sites in their indexes,
with varying degree of disclosure.
"If I'm going to go to the
library, chances are somebody hasn't paid a librarian 100 bucks to
point me to a particular book," said Beau Brendler, director of the
Consumer Reports WebWatch.