October 6, 2015 12:14:35 am
The Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) has undertaken responsibility to teach its undergraduate, postgraduate and research students the ‘skills for searching data over internet’. The workshop has been organised by the Skill Development Centre in SPPU on October 10.
The decision to offer these ‘skills’ free of cost has come after the launch of the Centre’s Digital India initiative, which seeks to empower different sections of society through the internet. According to SPPU officials, the objective to hold this session is to inform students about the latest research techniques that go beyond primary data search tools and control plagiarism to produce and obtain authentic data.
The Skill Development Centre was established by SPPU in March 2014 to eliminate the disconnect between academics and reality in the global job market. Dr Ravi Ahuja, assistant professor at the Skill Development Centre said, “Our research shows that more than 50 percent students do a generalised research, which leads to substandard projects. For example, if a student wants to do a comparative study of the census of a particular district; he goes to the national census website and gets lost in the sea of data and fails to get the required information.”
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Ahuja added that the problem of searching intended data is not only limited to the rural and financially weaker sections of society, but also the urban and highly educated people. “These skills are basic. They involve use of apt search words, extensions and hyperlinks. There are various theories like Boolean logic, which emphasize on the right usage of words like And, Or, Not. But these things are hardly taught anywhere,” he said.
Dr Rajendra Zunjarrao, Principal, Modern College, said, “Searching data online is definitely a skill, but it isn’t a complete substitute for traditional research methods. It provides more information, but lacks the authenticity of physical books. Due to rise in cases of plagiarism, there is a chance that one might come across inadequate or incomplete sources of data. That is why, it is essential to teach the students to read peer reviewed journals, which puts the author’s work under the scrutiny of experts. The journals which are edited and reviewed are safe to read.” He further said that the skill to see the impact of the research paper should also be taught in such workshops.
But does online data search put libraries at crossroads with modern education? Professor Sadanand Bansode of the Department of Library and Information Science at Pune University disagrees. “The number of students coming to refer books has reduced. But libraries are now upgraded to e-journals. At Jaykar Library’s portal, we have 20 databases, each consisting of a minimum of 2,000 e-journals.”
According to Ahuja, 50 students have already registered for the workshop, fulfilling the seating capacity. After assessing the response, the Skill Development Centre will take a decision on whether to organise similar workshops in the future.
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