What’s the Deal with Google?

When can I use Google? 

You can use Google to familiarize yourself with your topic, but you need to be careful using resources you find through Google in your actual project. 1) Your professor may require that you use more scholarly sources. 2) Even if they don’t require scholarly sources, you need to carefully evaluate any information you find on Google before citing it in an assignment. 

Why shouldn’t I use Google for more in depth research? 

1. Think of the internet as an iceberg. Google is only the tip of that iceberg. There is so much else on the internet that is not found with a Google search – the bit of the iceberg under the water. This includes the paid databases searched by the library website, which is why we recommend using them! 

2. You may have heard this before, but it bears repeating – not everything Google finds is high quality! In fact, a lot of it is not. Using the library resources allows you to more easily ensure that the materials you are finding are high quality. 

What do you mean by Scholarly Sources? How do I know if a source is good quality? 

You’re going to hear the phrases “scholarly” and “peer reviewed” a lot in your college career. What do they mean? Scholarly generally refers to the idea that it was written by an expert – usually an academic – in the field. Peer review specifically means that it was not only written by an expert, but was reviewed by other experts in the topic. You can find out more about peer review here

One of the easiest ways to make sure your sources are peer reviewed is to use the “peer reviewed” filter on the left hand side of your results list from a library search.

Just keep in mind that the concept of “peer review” only applies to journal articles. With books, you’ll want to make sure they are scholarly by looking at who the author is (what are their qualifications?) and who the publisher is (is it a university press?).