Can I just Google?
Google is useful for:
- defining terms and concepts
- locating images and video resources
- finding official statistical data
- finding government reports
- searching for specific websites
Google is not useful for:
- looking for scholarly resources
- looking for peer reviewed resources
- this is when you should use Library Search and our extensive databases
Can I use Google Scholar?
Google Scholar searches for academic sources. It can be useful for:
- looking for grey literature such as conference proceedings
- finding who has cited an article
- locating obscure references or items cited incorrectly
Before you search
Some simple planning before you start can make your search more effective:
- break down your topic into key concepts to know exactly what you are looking for
- keep your search words simple and put the most important word/s first
- choose descriptive words; use nouns where possible
- don't use 'Stop' words which search engines are programmed to ignore
"how", "because" or "what'' are examples of stop words
- use words a relevant website is likely to use
Google isn't the only search engine you can use. Do your search in different search engines and compare the results.
Here are some alternatives:
- DuckDuckGo (Private company which emphasises user privacy)
- DogPile (performs metasearches from Google, Yahoo and Bing)
- Bing (Microsoft)
Analyse your topic
If you are having trouble identifying the key concepts of your assessment, complete the library module on analysing your topic.