By Gary Klein
When you are researching something for a class assignment, and have to restrict your search to only articles that were published in peer-reviewed, academic, and scholarly journals, is turning to Google the best way to find those sorts of articles? Turning to Google is certainly a quick way to find stuff, but is it a good place to find academic or scholarly research?
Google is great when you want to know what time the newest blockbuster movie starts at the mall, to locate the nearest cash machine, or to find a good recipe to make chestnut stuffing on Thanksgiving Day.
But there are a lot of academic research topics where Google just does not deliver relevant results. The quick response time that you enjoy after hitting the “enter” key is lost when you have to scan through hundreds of results that totally miss the mark. A mismatched search phrase can waste a lot of your time downloading, reading, and evaluating results before you reject an entry and check the next citation offered by Google.
One of the big things that Google lacks is context. For example, Google does not currently ask which type of depression you mean. Instead, Google will offer you 122 million web pages, followed by a dictionary entry explaining only two ways that depression can be used as a noun in the English language (see example at https://tinyurl.com/y8rjgyvh).
If you turned to Wikipedia to begin your research, you will find 6 major types of depression (see example at https://tinyurl.com/lscmyg2).
6 Major Types of Depression via Wikipedia
|Biology – Physiology
||Reduction in a biological variable or the function of an organ.
|Earth Science – Geology
||Land form sunken or depressed below the surrounding area.
|Earth Science – Meterology
||Area of low atmospheric pressure characterized by rain and unstable weather.
||Sustained, long-term downturn in economic activity in one or more economies.
||Anatomical term of motion, refers to downward movement, the opposite of elevation.
||State of low mood and aversion to activity.
On the other hand, by turning to a subject-oriented database that compliments a research assignment, you would save time. You start working with a database that is focused on academic journals, which are peer-reviewed, and provide scholarly research in your field of inquiry.
Below are examples of results you might find when turning to the Hatfield Library’s website and using a library guide for Economics:
The Hatfield Library also has tools to help you find databases for specific types of documents. Did you know that we have special databases that focus primarily on book reviews, or images, or statistics?
If you tackle a research topic that does not fit well within our academic departments or document types, another route is to ask one of our librarians to help. One responsibility of librarians is to help match people with the right database. We provide instant messaging chat service on many of the library’s web pages and databases. We also provide contact options to reach subject specific librarians on all of our LibGuides.
“When you are looking for information…
Turn to a librarian first,
And it will be the last place that you go to!”
The Hatfield Library employs full-time professional librarians that you can meet with in person, talk with over the phone, chat with via instant messenger, or contact via email. Our subject librarians can schedule an appointment to meet with you, or you can get help from the librarian on duty at the Reference Desk.
With over 200 databases, we know the volume of potential resources is daunting, but we’re here to help you. And that is something that you cannot get from Google nor from Wikipedia!