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Academic Sources: Google Is Not the Only Answer

January 29, 2023| Category: Writing Tips

All writers have unique ideas whirling in their heads, but is it even possible to find a writer who did not address Google for help? Yet, if your research is limited to googling, then you remain at the beginner’s level, missing out valuable information, which can be found in a variety of scholarly archives. Google contains an abundance of material, but you cannot write a dissertation or a thesis using only this search engine. Addressing Wikipedia is beneficial when trying to check certain information, but paraphrasing Wikipedia is unprofessional, at the very least. While Google Scholar and Wikipedia are sufficient for learning background information or finding a suitable topic, academic research requires peer-reviewed material.

Indeed, you can rarely cope with scholarly assignments of college and university levels in several hours, as you must delve into the topic, considering the multiple layers of information it comprises. You can use Google and its encyclopedias to overview the basics of the research problem and to make sure you comprehend all the ensuing aspects you must analyze. After you grasped all the fundamental components of the subject, it is essential to move to the next researching level through relevant academic resources such as scholarly literature, textbooks, and peer-reviewed journals.

The Favorable Time to Use Google for Research

At the start of the academic project, you can use Google to:

  • collect the defining elements of the research topic;
  • learn the concepts and related terminology that you did not know before;
  • jot down the fundamental keywords and secondary topics, which are connected to the research question;
  • form an initial opinion on the subject matter;
  • view topic-related images and videos;
  • search through corporate or governmental publications, which do not belong to scholarly databases.

The Unfavorable Time to Do Google Search

  • When your instructions require research of scholarly material of the higher level;
  • When you need to investigate peer-reviewed publications. The main complication with Google here is that the majority of peer-reviewed resources are located behind pay walls. Therefore, Google is not programmed to have access to such material. Conversely, you can look through versatile academic content in open-access libraries of the educational establishments. There are also alternative electronic databases such as ProQuest and EBSCO.

The Pros and Cons of Google Scholar

There are certain advantages of Google Scholar for academic writers. You can find some scholarly sources related to miscellaneous subjects, including abstracts, articles, theses, books, and peer-reviewed research papers. All these materials may be helpful and up-to-date, as the authors of the publications are academicians, preprint repositories, scholarly institutions, and professional communities.

Yet, if your topic is multi-layered and unique, you might not find even a single article related to the subject matter. The main problem lies in indexing of the required material by Google. Some publications in scholarly databases such as ProQuest, EBSCO, ScienceDirect, WorldCat, HeinOnline, and others are not indexed by Google. Thus, your search results will be empty if you send your special academic request to Google Scholar. Additionally, even if you find some academic material that you need, the resources are likely to be limited. Direct library databases will be much more helpful.

Reasons Why Google Is Not the Ultimate Choice for Scholarly Works

Minimized Diversity of Material in Comparison to University Libraries

Except for endless archives of books, contemporary libraries of higher educational establishments encompass the required diversity of research resources. Google might comprise only 10% of those academic archives. University libraries have peer-reviewed scholarly journal articles as well as other integral resources suitable for scrupulous academic investigations:

  • Rare manuscripts and books;
  • Digitized historical documents;
  • Modern and vintage newspapers and magazines of the global scale;
  • Corporate data of various organizations;
  • Relevant maps;
  • Feature films and detailed videos that reveal the topics of interest;
  • Full versions of various encyclopedias and dictionaries.

Despite the benefits Google has in terms of its flexibility and user-friendliness, its results are not always 100% accurate. It is sufficient for users who do not need to produce professional written content. On the contrary, writing experts need to be able to operate within an extended digital landscape, not being limited to indexed resources.

Google can be one of the versatile resources a content writing connoisseur should utilize for high-quality research. Hence, to be an established academic writer, you should explore all the possible alternatives of academic search engines. This way, you will get the maximum out of the suggested targeted results, having extended the access to a multitude of pertinent scholarly sources.

Even if you know that your topic is quite simple, your researching methods should always be beyond Google, as it is better to scrutinize both typical sources and profoundly composed material by academics. If you have never worked with the research engines before, it is time to study and use the best ones to get reputable data.

Credibility under Question

Even if some web pages look professional, you must consider the fact that every individual has the right to publish something on the Internet. For instance, anyone can edit Wikipedia, so you should double check the validity of information. Although there are particular clues to help you discern false data from trustworthy one, it only takes extra time and might compromise the whole work you have done so far. In contrast, scholarly and scientific database environments offer academically assessed material, which can be customized to your exceptional case.

Filtering Approaches of Academic Search Engines Offer More Narrow Results

Sometimes, Google seems to have it all, but its broad research hinders you from focusing on a specific topic. When using subject-specific search engines, your request is narrowed down to the precise subject matter you are interested in. The “magic” happens owing to special tags, which are programmed to generate the results of the utmost relevance.

The Inconvenience of Paywalls

If you are an experienced writer, you might have already encountered the issue of a paywall – when you find seemingly the best article, but you can read only an excerpt of it because you have to pay for the rest. If you use special search engines, which offer scholarly resources, you can download them for free. Yet, you should never forget to cite the original authors.

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