How Do I Become an Internet Researcher?
To become an Internet researcher, you will typically need to demonstrate that you can quickly find accurate information using the Internet. In some cases, you may become an Internet researcher as part of your job duties for an employer. You may also offer your services as a professional researcher on the freelance market. While there is no specific licensure required to do this type of work, many people find that classes in reference sources, database research, and competitive intelligence may be of use in developing professional competencies and marketing themselves to potential employers and clients. You may also find that taking courses provided by vendors of proprietary databases and research tools to be very helpful.
Many companies and individuals rely on research to effectively do business or make important decisions. In some cases, companies and individuals may hire an Internet researcher to do their research for them. One of the most significant challenges of performing this kind of research is that there are numerous sources of information available online, and it can be difficult to target accurate information through the use of common Internet research tools. If you become an Internet researcher, you will be expected to evaluate these tools and learn how to use them such that you can efficiently seek out the information that your clients or employer needs.
Colleges and universities may offer degrees and certificate programs in library science or competitive intelligence that may provide you with training in using Internet-based resources. Holding an educational credential in such a program may also make it easier for you to become an Internet researcher, given that employers or prospective clients may perceive you to have greater expertise than self-taught researchers. If going back to school is not an option for you, you may still want to look into short-term training programs. For example, you may want to take a continuing education course in Internet research skills.
To further develop your career, you may wish to consider specializing in doing research in a specific subject area or areas. You may wish to begin with a subject with which you already have a great deal of familiarity. For example, you may wish to offer your services in researching topics that you studied in school or that you have dealt with on a regular basis in your employment or as part of a hobby or long-term interest. The stronger your vocabulary in a subject area, the better your research will be.
@bythewell - This has been going on a lot longer than the internet has been around though. If anything, the internet helps correct misinformation quickly, because everyone is an amateur internet researcher.
I actually think the best thing would be for more people to learn how to do this correctly though. It would be a terrible idea to ever publish something misleading or false if every single person who read it was willing and able to do their own research on the facts.
@umbra21 - I actually wonder how many of those are actually purposefully misidentified though. I mean, if you know your competitors are going to get a lot of clicks from reporting something false, it might be worth it to just jump on the bandwagon, rather than trying to maintain journalistic integrity.
I also think that this happens a lot when people without much training are asked to do internet research on the cheap. Search engines make everything too easy and too difficult at the same time.
I think one of the most important qualities for an internet researcher these days is skepticism. There have been far too many times when major media outlets have reported on things that just aren't true, because someone found it on the internet and didn't do any follow-up.
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