Why not just Google?
Google is a popular search engine that finds information on the open web. When you look for information on a topic using Google, you can get millions of results, which includes information from credible, as well as questionable, sources.
It is important to use credible sources in academic assignments because your statements gain authority if they are backed up by the work of experts.
If you are interested in using a website that you found through Google in a research paper, you must evaluate it by considering the currency, authority, accuracy, and purpose of the source. If after considering these factors you feel the source is credible, then you can quote, summarize, or paraphrase the content. Read more about evaluating information found on the open web. Remember to always cite your sources. Make sure your professor allows you to use websites found on the open web as sources for your research paper.
Another reason professors do not want you to only use Google to find sources for a research paper is that the search engine cannot access information found in specialized databases. Many scholarly journal, magazine, newspaper, and encyclopedia articles are only available through the databases subscribed to by MC Libraries. Google will not tell you which books MC Libraries might have about a topic either – you must use MC Libraries catalog to do this.
If you are new to using library resources, here are a few tips to help you begin to gather sources about your topic:
- Try a general database like Academic Search Complete to find articles on any topic you wish. Remember to use your MC identification card number when trying to access the database off-campus.
- Check the MC Libraries catalog for books or good background sources on a topic.
- Start with a Research Subject Guide for your topic area.
- Explore a database in your subject area. MC Libraries subscribe to scholarly resources in many disciplines.
- Ask a librarian for help!