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Research Protocol PD: Google vs. Databases

Information Overload

When it's a good idea to use the Internet...

The internet is best for general searches, not for research papers, although it is a good way to do preliminary research to get a topic or search terms to use when searching the databases.
Use it when you...
  • have the URL for a specific website
  • communicate with your friends
  • want entertainment information (movies, restaurants)
  • need info from a foreign website (for example add site:uk to search British sites)
  • want to search a government site (put site:gov before your search term)

Why You Need Library Databases for Research

What are the differences between databases and websites?

Library databases


  • Library databases get their information from professionals or experts in the field.
  • Websites can be written by anyone regardless of expertise.
  • Library databases contain published works where facts are checked.
  • Website content is not necessarily checked by an expert.
  • Library databases are easy to cite in a bibliography and may create the citation for you.
  • Websites often don’t provide the information necessary to create a complete citation.
  • Library databases can help you narrow your topic or suggest related subjects.
  • Websites often aren’t organized to support student research needs.
  • Library databases are updated frequently and include the date of publication.
  • Websites may not indicate when a page is updated.

Content from Roberts Wesleyan College Website

*** Also, remember that Academic Journals and other Periodicals do not put their content on the Web for free. You cannot access database articles from a search engine such as Google.