The Internet is a great source of information. With the advent of large-scale book scanning projects like Gallica, Archive.org, and Google Books, a wealth of information that was formerly available only to those with books has become easily accessible. There are also web discussion boards, some of which attract experts and amateurs alike. Wikipedia and numerous copycats have provided public encyclopedias. YouTube and copycats have provided video discussions of various topics. Search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Kart00, Cuil, and Alltheweb have made searching the Internet easier. Some Internet service providers, like AOL, have provided additional tools for extracting information from the Internet. This wealth of available information is a rich blessing. It has also lead to a number of problems.
1) Consider the Sources
When one locates a source of information, it is important to consider what the source is. Anybody can make their on Geocities web site, or start their own Blogger.com or Wordpress.com blog. Critical reading skills are important in order to sort it all out. The same goes, though, for books written in the 19th century. There are many good books that have been scanned, but there are also many books that are worse than useless. Simply because it got placed on the Internet, in your local paper, or even in a book, doesn't mean it's true.
2) Learn the Basics
If you want to understand something complicated, you are going to have start with something simpler. Trying to jump from basic algebra to partial differential equations is likely to lead to some serious math problems. Trying to jump from rudimentary Bible study to a study of the order of decrees is similarly likely to lead to some serious theology problems. Trying to jump from no knowledge of Greek to a complicated Greek question involves a similar leap.
3) Know your Limitations
Not everyone is equally good at critical thinking. Learn your own weaknesses. This can be an enormously difficult task. Women may not appreciate my saying this, but women need to bear in mind that they are the weaker vessel not just physically. Women are more easily deceived, which is why God has given men the responsibility and duty of caring for them. One of a husband's duties is the spiritual care of his wife.
Men also need to know their limitations though. The elders of the church are there for the edification especially of the men (who in turn are to teach their wives and children). One of the Biblical qualifications for the eldership is that a man is apt to teach. Churches that follow the Scriptures take this into consideration.
Even elders need to know their limitations. There is true danger in being a teacher, because one is held to a higher standard. A wise teacher relies on his fellow teachers, both his living colleagues, but especially the great teachers of the past.
4) Always Go Back to Scripture and Prayer
No matter what your research may turn up, go back to Scripture and prayer to God for wisdom. Scripture is the revealed Word of God and the only infallible source of knowledge that we have. Prayer to God is the way we have to beg Him for divine assistance to illuminate our understanding.
Research tools are good, and useful, but they need to be kept in their appropriate place, subservient to Scripture and prayer. There have been many who have forgotten this important fact and wandered off into idle speculation.
May God give us Wisdom according to the pleasure of His will,