I recently completed an online course with Mostafa Mutaher on Google Meet. It was mainly about an effective way of looking for credible online sources for academic writing like our assignments. The one hour class greatly increased my knowledge of using Google Scholar, especially on keywords for searching.
According to the speaker, it is good to start with choosing a topic or field of interest and brainstorming about keywords that are related and synonym of the keywords. Using Google Doc will greatly facilitate the process because it allows people that can access the file to edit and comment simultaneously. This reduces the inconvenience of deciding meeting point.
The articles containing each keyword will be shown if you type ‘OR’ between keywords on Google or Google Scholar. The order of the keywords determines the order of the results. Typing ‘AND’ between keywords will allow you to find articles containing all keywords. Combination of ‘OR’ and ‘AND’ allow more detailed and advanced searching.
Putting ‘*’ behind keyword without space will allow you to find articles contain the keywords or those contain the keyword with suffixes. Adding a space between ‘*’ and the keyword or phrase will allow you to find the answer or results that can fill in the space represented by ‘*’
To specify the type of file you are searching, for instance, pdf, you can add ‘filetype:pdf’ after a spacing behind the keywords to find all articles in pdf form. Furthermore, you can type ‘filetype:doc’ for documents and ‘filetype:pptx’ for Powerpoint or Google Slide.
The credibility of the online sources must be investigated because not all online sources are true and recognized. Online sources with ‘gov’, ‘edu’ and ‘org’ are credible. Websites with ‘gov’ belong to the government. ‘edu’ shows that it is an educational website that usually belongs to universities. Sources with ‘org’ belong to registered organizations. A credible online source must have the authors’ names shown. If a piece of online news does not show the author’s name, the credibility cannot be confirmed but you can site the website if it is well known. The speaker also told us that all articles in Google Scholar are reviewed by experts so there are no worries to use them.
Reference is an important part of academic writing and should never be neglected. Online sources are the main type of reference university student will use because it is easily accessible but the credibility is always neglected for convenience. If the credibility of your online sources is at doubt, same goes to your academic writing.
In addition, SOLS 24/7 Education is a recommendable platform for online learning. That was my first experience with the platform. It was simple and direct. The speaker did a great job to bring us straight to the main points and I really learnt something from him. The course duration was short and the speaker was concerned on the participants’ understanding. The instructions for online activities prepared are clear and easy to conduct. It also provides certificate upon completion. Overall, I am satisfied with the speaker and course.