sophisticated search engine users? not.

I heard a piece on On the Media yesterday about a recent Pew Internet study on search engine use that piqued my interest.  A heading on the report pretty much sums up the findings:

Internet searchers are confident, satisfied  and trusting – but they are also unaware and  naive.

Interestingly (though not surprisingly), this finding extends to college-age students, despite the best efforts of many institutions to provide a grounding in information literacy.  Although relatively sophisticated at finding information, younger surfers are less critical of their sources, are less aware of how a search engine works ("72% of internet users under 30 years say engine are fair and unbiased"), and tend not to look at a variety of options before choosing one.  You know, I wonder if this doesn’t have something to do with the whole in and out of school tech practices thing.  Students use search engines heavily in their personal lives, for a variety of things, so it makes sense that when we ask them to look at their search engine use in a more critical (read: academic) light, it doesn’t seem worth it, because they already ‘know how to use it’.


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