With a majority of the United States stuck at home, it's never been a better time to take full advantage of the internet. Whether you're participating in an online research study, signing up for a clinical trial, or sifting through public records, there are plenty of things you can do on the internet that you may never have guessed.
Access public records
Find clinical research
There are numerous types of clinical trials that are always looking for study participants. This can include medical research by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on a new drug or new treatment, as well as specific interventions for the medication used for chronic illness. Health care professionals are always looking for new ways to improve health outcomes and develop test treatments. Whether you join a control group or simply answer a medication survey for a research team, your assistance could be more valuable to a clinical study than you might have guessed. You'll need to fill out an informed consent document and understand the potential risk of a new test or experimental treatment but your participation could save lives. Look up a clinical trial today to see if you qualify.
Look up academic files
Data collection is as present in academia as it is elsewhere in the world. Certain sites allow you to access documents drafted by a research team or cohort study. Depending on the type of study you're looking for, you may be able to find available information that isn't hidden behind a paywall. Since most researchers gather information with the intent of it being made public, this opens new possibilities for accessing scholarly sources. Even if you're not looking for information to cite for a paper, research team documents are a great way to learn about new topics. You never know the potential benefits of being well-informed. You can also find non-scholarly sources that are equally well-researched if you know where to look.
Dig up archived webpages
Remember those old websites you used to visit? Wouldn't it be fun to take a trip down your digital memory lane? Luckily, there's a way to do just that. With the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine, you can find archived copies of an unknown number of old webpages. Whether you want to see how websites have changed over the years or you're conducting an observational study on the development of the internet, the Wayback Machine is a fun way to kill a couple of hours and feel nostalgic while doing it. If you're feeling particularly motivated, you can even check out what social media used to look like way back when. Facebook certainly wasn't always as pretty as it is these days.
The internet is truly full of endless possibilities. Whether you're looking to kill time while social distancing or need to finish out your college semester strong with some quality academic sources, there's no telling what you can accomplish if you start to think outside of the digital box.