Social media is not meant for research - Links

Conducting Online Research

02 October 2020 | Technology

“Research is about discovery and learning. Through research we generate evidence that guides or should guide how we engage with the issues affecting lives,” says Frederico Links, who will present a free online workshop on conducting research online on Thursday, 8 October, at 14:00.

The event, hosted by the Goethe-Institut Namibia Library via Zoom, requires registration by emailing a name and mobile number to library.windhoek@goethe.de at least one day before the event.

Links, who has extensive experience in journalism, editing and conducting research, says although the internet provides instant results, the pool of information requires users to be critical.

“The workshop will ny include topics such as information pollution, verification of sources and ethics,” he says.

Links explains that conducting research on the internet could have a person spending most of their time questioning the reliability and credibility of sources.

“Once you have been doing that for an extended period of time as a professional researcher, you sort of get an immediate sense of what is credible and what not. You also know where to go first and what search terms to use to get the results you want.”

The two-hour workshop will also cover topics such as optimising online search engines and examining the use of social media.

“Social media platforms are great to network and share information and opportunities but not for creating knowledge, so we will look at those,” he says.

Links says social media is not meant for research because it has become a locus of information disorder and pollution, and pervasive mutual misinforming by social media users. Using online surveys will also be covered in the workshop.

“For many people wanting to do online research of a sort, often how to discern credible from not-so-credible online content is a major issue, judging by the sorts of information I often see people sharing on social media. So, finding and verifying information or relevant content will be the focus of the workshop,” Links says.

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