Search Mastery Speaker Series: What it means to do research on the internet… and why so many are doing it wrong

Event Start Date: Thursday, January 20, 2022 - 11:00 am

Event End Date: Thursday, January 20, 2022 - 12:00 pm

Location: Virtual

Dan RussellSpeaker: Dan Russell, Senior Research Scientist, Google

Abstract: The internet is full of claims and counterclaims about everything—vaccines, uncivil society, 5G, politics, whether birds are real, and even whether or not Betty White flipped the bird in a famous photo. Usually these claims are backed up with the argument “but I DID my research on the internet!” And, as you might expect, the quality of most of that “research” isn’t great. The root of the problem is that the loudest voices and most prolific “researchers” really have no idea what good research would be—they often don’t have any good models to follow, and in a Dunning-Krugeresque world, they don’t even know that they don’t know. In this talk we’ll discuss what we’ve seen in poor research practices, and what we can do to help teach the world at large about how to actually do decent online research.

Bio: Daniel Russell is Google’s Senior Research Scientist for Search Quality and User Happiness in Mountain View. He earned his PhD in computer science, specializing in Artificial Intelligence. These days he realizes that understanding and amplifying human intelligence is his real passion. His day job is to understand how people search for information, and the ways they come to learn about the world through online information sources. His 20% job is teaching the world to search more effectively. His MOOC,, is currently hosting over 3,000 learners / week in the course and over the past 4 years, more than 5 million students have attended his online search classes. His instructional YouTube videos have a cumulative runtime of over 425 years (24 hours/day; 7 days/week; 365 weeks/year). His 2019 book, The Joy of Search, tells intriguing stories of how to be an effective searcher by going from a curious question to a reliable answer, showing how to do online research with skill and accuracy. (MIT Press)

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