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From Flips to Clicks: The Evolution of Conducting Research Through Books vs. The Internet

September 6, 2020
Image courtesy of Pexels.

Once upon a time, the internet had yet to exist and when one needed to conduct research of any sort, they had to solely rely on books – heaps and piles of books. 

Imagine being at school or university these days, being given an assignment that requires a lot of research in a certain subject or topic and having to rely solely on using the library – and no, not the computers at the library, but the actual books at the library. 

For most students these days, or more specifically those who fall under the demographic of millennials and Generation Z, having to conduct research solely through books might actually be unimaginable. Why go through the physical and time consuming process of skimming through piles of books, when the answers one could be looking for could literally be found just a click away?

That being said, however, there are undoubtedly pros and cons to each method of research. While searching for answers through the internet could be a lot faster and efficient, a lot of the time one will not be able to really go in depth on a certain subject or topic by solely relying on internet searches. 

Researching Through the Internet

Google, it’s almost everyone’s go-to source for any sort of information one might be seeking. From specific questions on topics such as philosophy to those of a more minute scale such as asking about “how to boil an egg” – Google always has the answer, or at least an answer that will stand out amongst a sea of many. 

The internet truly is a marvel, and when thinking about the fact that one can access countless sources of information through the click or a button, it definitely puts things into perspective in terms of how far technology has advanced. 

Image courtesy of Pexels.

However as with most technological advances, as well as generally most things in life, nothing comes without downfalls of some sort. 

As previously mentioned, although searching for something through the internet is faster and more efficient, it is not as reliable as trying to search for something through specific books, for example. 

The internet is so vast and wide, that people will find themselves bombarded with such a wide variety of information, most of which may not be backed up by a sufficient amount of research, nor reliable sources.

Indeed, the internet can provide a lot in a short amount of time, but because of its wide reach and accessibility, this very fact also makes it its downfall; anyone these days can publish anything on the internet – it doesn’t make it accurate or reliable. 

Researching Through Books

In today’s fast-paced world, barely anyone has the patience or time to read, let alone skim, through books these days. 

In addition to this, when it comes to conducting research through books, one must first also search for the most appropriate books that would best fit their subject or topic. 

While this method may not seem time efficient these days, it may actually provide a lot more sufficient and reliable information for the topic of which one could be conducting research for. 

Library books. Image courtesy of Pexels.

The beauty of books that discuss certain topics, is that more often that not the person or author who wrote and published the book is a professional or academic with years of experience on the matter. 

As such, the information gathered and placed into the book is a lot more reliable than a random internet search, because it consists of years of effort and studies all ultimately placed together in this one place. 

However, it is worth keeping in mind that there are also many books published by people who lack credentials; it just may be slightly easier to point those out in book form than sources found online.

Also, more often than not, sources found on the internet may cite or suggest certain books for further reading and delving into the topic more deeply. 

For this reason, and in order to truly provide fact-based research which is both reliable and unique, conducting research by skimming through certain books can make all the difference. 

The Ultimate Prognosis 

Perhaps the best thing to do when conducting any sort of research these days, would be to try to balance between searching for information through the internet as well as skimming through books. 

Image courtesy of Pexels.

The internet could be a great resource for simple background information; the sort of information one would include in a study or assignment that just slightly begins to touch the surface of a certain topic. 

In order to delve deeper into a topic or subject however, to truly enrich the research one is conducting, academic or professional support through books that specifically tackle the topic at hand can tie everything together perfectly. 

That being said, the next time one goes about conducting research of any sort, perhaps re-visiting physical books is worth a try. 

A particularly great, and little known, resource that one can use in Egypt is the Egyptian Knowledge Bank. The Egyptian Knowledge Bank acts as a digital library, thriving with numerous diverse resources, exclusively for Egyptian citizens.

According to their official website, “The Egyptian Knowledge Bank grants all Egyptians from all ages access to the largest amount of knowledge, cultural and scientific content whether they be basic, applied, technology, human or management sciences. Even public cultural books, including books targeting children, to be used through all computers, as well as smart phones and tablets around the country.” One can access this resource by using their national ID number.

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