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JST456 Research Skills Guide: Searching the Internet

Where to search

This page will take you through Internet searching. You may like to refer back to the JST495 guide for more suggestions including Primo search and databases.

Why use Google Scholar

Google Scholar is a search engine for scholarly information. It makes available information records that an author, university repository, or journal publisher have chosen to list. It is useful because it searches across many resources and returns many resource types, including journal articles and book chapters, though it is important to note that results are not always from academic-quality sources. Google Scholar will also return results to resources you do have access to via CSU Library, and those you do not.

Watch the video to the right to gain an overview of Google Scholar, including how to change your settings to show which resources are held in CSU Library's collection:

why use Google?

The Internet is a great place to locate background information and additional resources outside of scholarly publications. These resources, often referred to as grey literature, can include information about government departments, consumer issues, companies, statistics, latest news and more.

Because anyone can publish anything on the internet, there is a lot of information to sift through when searching the web and you can also end up with a lot of irrelevant and/or unreliable information.

However, there are some tips and tricks you can implement to make the most out of Google Search and improve the relevance and quality of your results. These strategies are slightly different to those offered in Primo Search and journal databases.

While Google Search does offer an Advanced Search, which you might like to use, you can use these strategies within the basic search box to provide you with the same control.

Search Strategies

You can use these strategies to search effectively in Google and Google Scholar.

Search for an exact phrase, or match

Put your search terms in quotation marks

"climate change"
Exclude a word from your search

Put a dash - before any word you want to exclude

Port corrosion -phone
Include both terms in your results

Put a + before any word that you want to include

"data mining" +intelligence

Search within a range of numbers

Use two periods .. between the numbers to return results within that range

sea temperature 2012..2017
Search within a website

Use site: to search within a particular web address or to limit your results to a domain type

site: abs.gov.au

site:.edu
Limit by geographical area or time frame Use the Google Tools drop down options to limit to Australian results and/or select a time frame for your results.
Search for a file type

Use filetype: to search for a particular file type 

filetype:pdf

Using Google Scholar

Using google effectively

Grey Literature

Grey literature is research that has not been published commercially, such as in academic journals. For that reason, it's not easy to find it using the usual databases and search engines. Examples of grey literature include government reports, conference proceedings, theses and policy documents. Do be aware that much of it is not peer reviewed, so should be evaluated carefully.

The Library’s guide to Grey Literature offers more information, including how to find and evaluate grey literature, and some good sources in different subject areas.

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