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Can I use Google to do research for a paper?

976 views   |   Last updated on Jan 29, 2019    articles research google writing


While you can use Google as part of your research process, it isn't the best place to do all of your research. Google does not include most academic journals that have the level of research you want in order to write your paper. However, Google is a great place to start your research. You can use Google to get background information on your topic and get a broad overview of what  you are looking for before you search for academic articles in the library databases. This will help you do a more efficient search in the databases because you'll have a better idea of what you are looking for and what is most relevant.

Google can be a great resource for things such as blogs, podcasts, digital collections, and other items that aren't in the library databases. When you use Google, you want to make sure that the websites you are using for research are reliable, authoritative, and relevant.  Use the Evaluate Websites section of our College Writing guide to help you evaluate your websites. A few things you want to be looking at is who wrote the page (what their affiliation and credentials are), how frequently it is updated, and if there is bias to the page.

If you like the Google interface and want to use it for your research we recommend Google Scholar. Google Scholar provides a simple way to broadly search for scholarly literature. Look on the right hand side of the screen for the "Full-Text@MCLA" links that will bring you to the article in one of our databases. You can also look for the free PDFs listed on the right hand side. The best tool in Google Scholar is the citation link under each result. This will show you other articles that cited that article in their references. If you find a great article, be sure to check what else has cited it for more relevant results.