Where do you get your Information?

The Web can provide excellent starting places for your research:

Google search page


But if you are only using Google and Wikipedia to find your information, you may not be finding all of the information that is available on your topic. Especially if you are being asked to do scholarly research.

Advanced Google searching

Here are a few search strategies for finding scholarly and academic resources on the web:

  • Advanced Google search -- Restrict the search to the .edu domain to narrow the focus of your search to web sites created at or by educational institutions.
  • Google Books -- Search for books on your topics and then search the text within those books for specific chapters, paragraphs, and sentences.
  • Google Scholar -- Search for articles from scholarly journals to which the Cornell University Library subscribes.

Evaluation Checklist

Evaluating Web Pages: Questions to Ask & Strategies for Getting the Answers:

An eight-point evaluation checklist from the UC Berkeley Library.

  • What can the URL tell you?
  • Who wrote the page? Is he, she, or the authoring institution a qualified authority?
  • Is it dated? Current, timely?
  • Is information cited authentic?
  • Does the page have overall integrity and reliability as a source?
  • What's the bias?
  • Could the page or site be ironic, like a satire or a spoof?
  • If you have questions or reservations, how can you satisfy them?

Know what you are searching

The best research uses everything, all the tools, and the best tool for the task.

But not all tools are equal. Google and Wikipedia have their uses, but when it comes to scholarly research, rely on restricted tools/resources which are superior, have more content, and are free to Cornellians.

Open to the World Tools

  • Google
  • Google Scholar / Google Books
  • Wikipedia
  • NYT.com
  • Websites

Restricted / Subscription / Academic Tools

  • Library databases
  • Books / HathiTrust
  • Online & print scholarly encyclopedias
  • Newspaper databases & archives
  • Journals (online & print)

There is no uberdatabase

There is no one place that you can find everything. Where you look depends on the stage of your research and other factors. 


  • what is being searched
  • how it is being searched 

What's "on" the web?

More content is behind paywalls than is freely available on the web. Library subscriptions help to provide access to this content.