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Using the Internet for Assignments and Research

This guide discusses when it is appropriate to use the internet for an assignment or research, and provides some tips for making the most out of your internet searches.

Google

To Google, or not to Google?

The answer, is sometimes, but not all the time. You can start your search with Google, but you need to move on to academic resources, that is, material found in textbooks, scholarly and peer reviewed journals.

When is it a good time to Google? 

  • When starting an assignment to...
    • define the topic
    • learn about terms and concepts you are unfamiliar with
    • Identify other keywords and related topics that will help you find academic material
  • To gather opinion on a topic
  • To look at images and video

When is a bad time to use Google?

  • When you need academic, scholarly resources
  • When you need peer reviewed material: Most peer-reviewed material is behind pay walls, meaning Google may not be able to find it and won't be able to provide access to it. To access peer reviewed content, use Library Search on the library homepage or some of our academic databases and other recommended electronic resources, such as EBSCO and ProQuest

Google Scholar

Google Scholar allows you to search for academic literature across many disciplines and sources: peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, abstracts and articles, from academic publishers, professional societies, preprint repositories, universities and other scholarly organizations. 

ExclamationGoogle Scholar won't find everything on a topic. Articles that are indexed in academic databases (like EBSCO or ProQuest) may not be indexed by Google, meaning they will not appear in your search results.

For this reason, it is best not to rely on Google Scholar as your sole source of academic material. You will get much more relevant results using the library databases

Google tips

Hack College developed a detailed infographic with loads to tips to make your Google searching more thorough and efficient. 

Get more out of Google

Infographic citation: Hack College (2011). Infographic: Get More Out Of Google. Retrieved from http://www.hackcollege.com/blog/2011/11/23/infographic-get-more-out-of-google.html Licence: CC BY NC ND.

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Other Search Engines

Google is not the only Internet search engine. You might like to try Duck Duck Go, or some of the others mentioned in this article from Lifewire - The Best Search Engines of 2016.