Is Google best for academic research?
Google is everywhere and combined with smart mobile technology, it has helped transform many aspects of life. Daily, you are inundated with an overwhelming amount of information at your fingertips. Want to know how tall Chris Hemsworth is? Google has your back. Need to know if there is a Thai restaurant within 5 miles of your house that delivers takeout? Google to the rescue. Must prove your frenemy wrong that Westworld was originally created by Michael Crichton before it was an HBO show? Google. Boom.
Is Google a game changer? Definitely. Google can answer all sorts of questions. But, is it really the best tool to turn to when you are tasked with a serious academic research project? Probably, not, and here is why:
Quality Trumps Quantity
- Google is great because it brings back vast amounts of results almost instantaneously. However, when you are researching too much information can be just as frustrating as not enough information.
- More importantly, Google doesn’t do a great job of weeding out incorrect or out of date information which affects the reliability and overall quality of your research. With library databases, you are able to more efficiently narrow results on your topic, while also ensuring that you are only seeing results that are published research articles vetted by scholars working and studying in your area of interest.
Ease of Use
- Google is easy, but you know what’s not easy? Filtering through hundreds of thousands of results trying to vet each one, find out the proper citation and determine accuracy and authenticity of the information. Library databases make all these steps easy, once you learn how to search in them.
- Only looking for a few articles, or just starting your research and brainstorming for your topic? Use the Search Articles option on the homepage to find a massive amounts of articles housed in library databases.
- For more intense research, check out subject specific databases.
- Library databases can be just as easy to use as Google, once you get the hang of how to search. Check out this post for quick rundown on how to change your Google Search into a successful library search?
Yeah, but Google is free… wait, I have to pay how much to read an article?
- Remember, your tuition and student fees go towards paying for library materials which include the many thousands of journal articles housed in library databases. That means everything in the library is free and you won’t have to pay to read the full text, like you are often asked to when searching on Google. If our library doesn’t subscribe to something you need, you can access it from another library using the interlibrary loan process.
- Need help finding something? Librarians are experts in research and they enjoy helping students and teaching them how to find what they need. Contact a librarian and get help with your research.
Still in love with Google? Check out this chart created by Yale University for a comparison between research databases and Google.
Written by: Brittany Geissinger Questions? Brittany.Geissinger@mail.sdsu.edu