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Research Survival Guide: Scholarly Research - Google

This guide will help you learn how to conduct college-level research for your classes.

Should I Use Google for My Research?

Google is a good source to use to find background information on your topic, but it does not necessarily provide the peer-reviewed scholarly articles that most professors want you to use in your assignments. There are multiple disadvantages of using Google as your main research tool:

  • It provides you with an overwhelming amount of result, some which may not be credible.
  • It filters the more popular results to the top, not necessarily the more qualified/accurate results.
  • It is harder to narrow down your search to exactly what you want.
  • The scholarly articles you do find will mostly be hidden behind a paywall, not accessible to the public.

You can use Google Scholar for your research, but it is not the most effective way to search for scholarly materials. Watch this video from the Wayne State University Libraries to learn more about using Google Scholar.

Google Scholar provides access to articles from academic publishers, professional societies, and articles from databases that the library subscribes to.

  • The results are compiled by bots that collect documents from the web and make them available via Google Scholar.
  • The algorithm used to find the results makes a calculated guess at whether the result is a scholarly source. This is why you must still look at the source to decide if it is a scholarly/popular resource.

Google Scholar has an option to link the Madonna Library databases to Google Scholar so that it also shows articles subscribed to by the Madonna Library.

  • Go to Google Scholar and click the three-lines in the upper left-hand corner of the website.
  • Click on Settings > Library Links > Enter Madonna University > Click on Madonna University > Click Save.  

Google vs. Google Scholar vs. Library Databases