It may seem like an odd thing, but studies show that students generally choose a hit from the first page of a Google search whether or not it has anything to do with the problem at hand.
This bears thinking about. Is it due to simple rashness, an inability to click though a couple more pages, because Google results always seem so “right on the money”? I don’t think so … inappropriate choices have long been the case with search engines and, frankly, were the case long ago when students had to use the many (paper!) volumes of The Reader’s Guide to Periodical Literature when doing research.
No … it’s much more likely because students, being students, don’t know enough to reliably distinguish between a “good answer” and a “bad answer.” If they did, what would be the purpose of them taking the class?
Perhaps students need to be instructed a bit more in how to use search engines. I’ve no problem with that, but the set of “knowing how to use a search engine” does not necessarily intersect with the set of “understanding when you’ve found an appropriate answer.” Ignorance – and even willful ignorance – is still a trump.
H. G. Wells wrote to the effect that the more of an expert a person is in one field, the less he knows in every other field. This is to say that we are all ignorant about most of the things we encounter in life … and thus all too ready to pick something bogus from the very first page.