A few decades ago, doing scientific research meant traveling to an academic or private institution that had access to expensive labs and equipment. You would need to have funding to pay for these resources, and chances are you didn’t, so most people couldn’t do it.
That is not the case anymore! Anyone with a smartphone can perform scientifically rigorous experiments, and they’re even able to test their hypotheses remotely!
In this article we will talk about how the internet has changed the way scientific researchers conduct studies, what tools exist to make this easier, and some examples of ways technology has been used in studying nature.
I’ve tried to focus mostly on things that anyone with a degree could do, but if you know anything about biochemistry, genetics, botany, or any other field that requires sophisticated machinery, check out our tips at the end!
Disclaimer: The information in this article should be considered theoretical and educational. Please do not attempt to use the information here as medical advice for yourself or others. Consult your doctor before trying new health interventions like diet changes, supplements, or herbal remedies.
You agree to hold ToxicBooth LLC (the owner of this website) harmless from damage caused by interpretation of the information contained herein.
Internet-based science isn’t limited to just educating individuals about the natural world, either! Companies have designed applications and services solely to aid scientists in performing their jobs more efficiently.
Collaboration through social media has changed the way scientists do research
Social networking sites have become integral parts of our daily lives, with over 2 billion people around the world using at least one every day. This includes not only professional networks like Facebook and LinkedIn, but also casual networks such as Snapchat that can quickly wind up fading away.
By creating accounts for these sites, you are giving other users your personal information – from your birthday to where you work. This is very common in academic settings, as most professors require students to use their college or university account to access assignments and lecture materials.
This is different than having an anonymous email address, which some may prefer due to possible confidentiality issues.
Faculty may even ask students to authenticate using their own social network accounts, making it easy to collaborate.
The internet is a goldmine of information
It’s almost impossible to overestimate just how much knowledge we have access to online these days. From in-depth articles, eBooks, and YouTube videos to question and answer (Q&A) sites like AskReddit and WikiHow, the web has become an ever-expanding source of insights and tips for all sorts of topics and situations.
The thing about the internet is that it’s always been accessible, but what makes it special now is that it’s not only available to anyone at any time, but it’s also free. You don’t need to be rich to reap its benefits.
It’s easy to forget how crucial the internet was when most people were still using landlines and computers that couldn’t do more than browse the web and send emails. These things seem trivial today, but back then they made a big difference.
By giving everyone access to resources, the internet allowed for a way to connect with each other and learn from one another. It inspired conversations, collaborations, and even revolutions.
Because of this, the internet transformed scientific research. Scientists are now able to access vast amounts of data quickly and easily, which helps them accomplish their goals and achieve new milestones.
Scientists are using the internet more to find their research topic
More and more scientists these days use the internet to determine what they should study or investigate. Before, most people learned about science through teaching yourself how to do it, either by studying biology at a college level or taking general courses like physics or chemistry.
But now that technology has made it easy to access almost anything online, many students choose to learn via YouTube tutorials or other educational videos. They also look up information and concepts in textbooks or through interactive learning platforms such as Khan Academy or Google Education.
These tools have become very popular because they can be accessed anywhere, easily! Students of any age can use them, which helps spread knowledge since anyone with an internet connection can.
Scientists are using the internet to look up references
In fact, there’s even an organization that encourages scientists to do just that. The nonprofit known as PubPub helps researchers make this transition by offering free, easy-to-use citation tools and other academic resources.
By making it easy for anyone to access sources, they increase exposure to ideas outside of academia. This is important because many people in non-academic fields still believe myths about science that aren’t true!
Myth: Nutrition studies prove that eating less meat will help you lose weight.
Fact: Just like with any type of diet, what you eat can have a big effect on your health. And while some foods may be overweight due to their size, meat isn’t one of them.
Many theories suggest that protein boosts metabolism, which means it takes more energy to digest food so we burn more calories. Unfortunately, most of the protein we intake from processed foods or vegetarian diets doesn’t agree.
That’s why some experts say limiting red meat could be a bad idea when it comes to weight loss.
Scientists are using the internet to look up experts in their field
More and more scientists these days can’t function without access to the web. There you will find not only information about various topics, but also opportunities to connect with other people who are interested in the same things.
By looking into the works of others, you become inspired by what they know and learn from them. This is how most great discoveries get made!
By connecting with people with similar interests, you create an opportunity for yourself to expand your knowledge and grow as a person.
It is very common today for researchers to use social media to search for answers to questions that have no clear solution. They might comment or like comments on a topic to gain insight, or make inquiries to different people around the country or world to see what answers they receive.
These strategies work because they expose individuals to new ideas and concepts. It breaks down barriers that may exist due to self-confidence or fear of making mistakes.
Experts spend time developing their fields through education and practice, which creates more confidence in themselves and their area. This could be as simple as reading a book or taking a course or it could be going back to school to acquire a credential.
Scientists are using the internet to find libraries
More recently, however, there have been other changes that affect how scientists do research. One of these is conducted online through sites and applications where researchers can ask questions or search for information or resources. This has become very popular as it removes barriers to scientific research such as time, money, and location.
By using the internet to connect with others in your field, you increase your exposure to new ideas and techniques. You also get easy access to people who may have what you’re looking for and can even contribute by providing you with more information or helping you find what you need.
This isn’t limited to practical things either. By searching for academic articles, you can read them and cite them which helps promote literacy and understanding of science. And if you run into any problems finding something, you can usually look up tips on how to fix it!
There are many ways that the internet has changed how scientists do their work. While some seem trivial, most focus on expanding our knowledge and introducing us to new concepts. A few even help save lives, like when doctors use Google to diagnose conditions.
Scientists are using the internet to read reviews of products
Many professional scientific researchers no longer have access to physical labs that they can use for research purposes.
They must now rely on online resources, or vendors who provide paid services like you mentioned before.
This is problematic because it can be difficult finding good quality sources of information.
There are many ways people gather information about different products so how well their product works really depends on whether someone has posted enough positive or negative experiences with the product.
It can also depend on what companies promote about their products to other users.
That’s why as a scientist, you need to know where to look for reliable information about potential new treatments.
The internet is changing the way science is taught
More academic institutions are moving away from face-to-face teaching and learning, which has led to some interesting shifts in how scientific research is conducted.
In fact, there’s now an entire genre of literature that focuses exclusively on how technology can be used to advance scientific research.
These books typically focus on one area of science, like genetics or neuroscience, and discuss everything form the very basics to more advanced concepts such as quantitative biology and systems theory.
There are even courses available online that teach you how to use tools such as Google Docs, Excel, and GitHub to conduct meaningful scientific experiments.
All of these things have one thing in common: they take advantage of something the internet offers us by default — information.