Geology - Studying On-line

Learning Should be Fun

  • Don’t feel pressured
  • Try not to leave things until the last minute
  • Try to find a human angle
  • Follow your interests
  • If it seems too hard, try a different source
  • If it’s still too hard, try an easier topic
  • Take a break
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help
  • Read the How-to Articles First [links to these are in our Useful Links document, under Study Techniques]

Start from Reliable Links

  • Our Useful Links document
  • Links from textbooks, magazine articles (often in-line or grouped together at the end)
  • Links on BGS, Geological Society websites
  • Links in Wikipedia articles
  • Most big sites have their own search page (try the sidebars, top or bottom of their home page)
  • Links in other documents (but be sensible)

Don’t Believe Everything You Read

  • Check the provenance of the information (journalism or science? trusted source? qualified author?)
  • Check the original articles & citations (reputable journal? references to previous scientific publications? reasoned arguments, not polemic?

Take Notes As You Go

  • Keep an editor (eg Notepad) window open for jottings and doodles
  • Make friends with your browser’s bookmark system
  • Always open links in a new browser window/tab
  • Don’t close windows/tabs unless they’re duds
  • Use your browser’s history if necessary

Sharpen Your Searching Skills

  • Remember that the top result is often paid for
  • Don’t “feel lucky” on Google
  • Best results aren’t always near the top
  • Consider using Google Scholar
  • Always check the links before following them

Get the Best from Wikipedia

  • Remember, anyone can edit [part of] an article
  • Take note of “needs additional citations”
  • Beware of “stubs”
  • Always check the References (footnotes)
  • Use the See Also links
  • Use the External References links
  • Use the tools provided in the sidebar
  • Click on images for larger version[s]
  • Use Wikimedia Commons for copyright-free images

Find the needle in a huge haystack

  • Google Search Refinement
  • Plus (+) to require a word
  • Minus (-) to exclude a word
  • Quotes (“….”) for exact matches only
  • Mix and match the above in any combination.
  • Also use the Images, Videos, News, Maps links near the top

E.g. to find Trident Housing Group despite the nuclear missile connotations, try searching for:-

Search term#Effect
tridentno filtering
trident -missileexclude anything mentioning 'missile'
+trident -missile -nuclear +housingrequire things that mention both'housing' and 'trident' but exclude anything mentioning 'missile' or 'nuclear
"trident housing group"literal match, excluding everything that doesn't explicitly mention 'trident housing group'
+"housing group"+trident -missile -nuclearrequire anything with 'trident' and 'housing group' but exclude anything also mentioning 'missile' or 'nuclear'