Many Students are Seeking Answers Online

25 viewed last edited 3 years ago
Mahesh Godavarti

Many students do not ask questions in class [1, 2, 3]. But this does not mean that they are not asking any questions at all. A claim can be made that students are actually turning to the Internet to find answers to their questions.

Where's the data to support this claim? Let's turn to Google trends (https://trends.google.com/trends/?geo=US) to find the data. You can learn more about Google trends at [4]. Google trends is an excellent source that allows you to compare the popularity of search terms. It allows you to compare two terms and determine the ratio of the volumes of search compared with each search term.

Let's start with comparing "How to Register to Vote" with "How to Solve a Quadratic Equation" for a period of 1 year from 12/1/2016 to 11/30/2017. We see that the search volume for "How to Solve a Quadratic Equation" is about one-third of that of "How to Register to Vote". Students are really active online looking for answers!

Let's see how the search volume for "How to Solve a Quadratic Equation" has trended over time. We see that the search volume in 2018 is about 10 times that of the volume in 2004!

Now, let's compare how the search volume for "How to solve a Quadratic Equation" has trended over time with that of "How to solve a system of linear equations" and "What are x-intercepts". We see that number of people asking these questions have trended steadily up from 2004, although it looks like students need more help solving a quadratic equation than with solving a system of linear equations.


  1. https://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/effective-teaching-strategies/a-simple-trick-for-getting-students-to-ask-questions-in-class/
  2. https://www.tenneyschool.com/when-students-do-not-ask-questions-in-class/
  3. https://letsrecap.com/2017/05/15/ten-reasons-students-dont-asking-questions/
  4. https://ahrefs.com/blog/how-to-use-google-trends-for-keyword-research/