"Question Mark Made of Puzzle Pieces" by Horia Varlan
Students rely heavily on ranking–or how search tools decide the order in which to display results–to help them select sources to read. Most of us do, but the data about students comes from researchers Andrew Asher of Bucknell University and Lynda Duke of Illinois Wesleyan University.
The researchers presented the findings of their latest study and forthcoming paper on how university students do research, at the American Library Association Annual conference, and in the talk they emphasized some of their takeaways about what research skills should look like, including an overall focus on critical thinking skills and the ability to evaluate the quality of sources.
Because of the reliance on ranking, Asher and Duke argue, it’s critical for students to have some understanding of how each search tool they use makes these decisions.
To that end, here are a few resources to help understand and communicate with students about how Google ranks search results. Understanding the fundamentals of ranking will help students write better queries and make better choices about where to click.