Sorry professors, but your students aren’t spending much time researching in the library anymore. Most students head straight to Google when they need to write a research paper. Luckily, the Internet does have more to offer than kittens and babies, if you know how to look. It’s time for everyone to embrace the web as a real source of intellectual information.
Google Search uses a number of operators — query words or symbols that perform special actions when searching — that allow users to find very specific information and files. For example, you can search just for PDF files that contain the words “New York” and “baseball” but not “Alex Rodriguez” between 2004 and 2012. Pretty specific and extremely helpful for finding authoritative information on the web. If you don’t want to take the time to learn all of these operators, you can always use the Advanced Search function to create the same parameters.
Google Scholar is a freely accessible web search engine that indexes the full text of scholarly literature across an array of publishing formats and disciplines. Released in beta in November 2004, the Google Scholar index includes most peer-reviewed online journals of Europe and America's largest scholarly publishers, plus scholarly books and other non-peer reviewed journals. It is similar in function to the freely available Scirus from Elsevier, CiteSeerX, and getCITED. It is also similar to the subscription-based tools, Elsevier's Scopus and Thomson ISI's Web of Science.
To learn more about using Google for online research, check out the infographic below.