databasesDid you know the more you Google a research topic, the worse results you’ll get?

That’s because the more you click, the more Google tries to help you out by narrowing your search for you. You’re probably thinking that’s a good thing, right? For basic searching, yes. But for academic searching–you want to be the one controlling your search, not Google.

Say you have to research a social issue for Ms. Brown’s class. You start to search on a topic and find something interesting so you click on a few links. As you keep clicking, you might notice that you’re starting to only see one side of the issue. That’s because Google will give you results based on the links you’ve already clicked on not on what you really need. You need neutral, unbiased information but Google doesn’t know that so it’s steering you towards only one side of the issue.

SamplegoogleDid you know many websites that look good really are branded content?

Companies pay people to write articles for them so they can either a) promote their products or b) promote their agenda. If you feel the need to Google, make sure you always check:

  • THE AUTHORS — Are they legit? Who is sponsoring them? Where did they get their information?
  • THE CONTENT — Is it timely? Thorough? Based on good sources? Does it use factual data?
  • THE POINT OF VIEW — Is the website promoting its own agenda? Is the website neutral?

Bottom line:

When you need academic research (which means any research in high school), avoid the hassle and go straight to databases (DISCUS, EBSCO eBooks, JSTOR, etc.); any of the good sources that you can find on the BEHS Library site; or some of the excellent print books you’ll find in the BEHS Library.

One more tip! Be sure to pick up your database passwords in the Library. You don’t want to be stuck without passwords the night before you’re paper is due! (Not that you would ever, ever wait until the night before to finish your paper…)