Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Search and sources of information

Last night the BBC broadcast the latest documentary in the Horizon series entitled Professor Regan's Supermarket Secrets.

One part of the documentary had the presenter, Prof. Regan, doing a search on Google for what was clearly a research topic (I can't remember the query, it was something like 'cancer colon'). We are presented with a decision on the back of the information gathered.

Its fine for people to perhaps start off using Google to pick up some initial information on a given subject (particularly if they are new to it), but in general you'll probably want to search different type of sources in order to come to some final decision. That is, for a research topic you'll want to engage with the academic literature. This means looking at sources beyond the web.

I'm surprised that Prof. Regan let herself be used the the Beeb in this way, given that she is declares herself as a scientist. Does she use Google and only Google to search for information in her own specialist area?

I rest my case.

[Prof. Regan is a Consultant Obstetrician St Mary's @ Paddington. I found it using Google.....]

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