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RMIT University Library - Learning Lab

Why can't I just Google it?

 

Google is a good place to start your research, but...

Conducting research and finding information for your assignment takes time and effort. So why can't I just use Google and Wikipedia? This is a perfectly reasonable question that new students often ask.

Try the quick activity below to test your assumptions about the advantages and disadvantages of using Google and Wikipedia for your research.

Activity: Advantages and disadvantages of Google

Drag the statements into their correct category. Incorrect answers will snap back to their original position.

Advantages
 
Disadvantages
 
  • Not all information is credible on the internet - anyone can publish anything.
  • Finding information is quick and easy.
     
  • Easy access to non-text sources such as measurement data, images and video.
  • It may be difficult to know if the information is out-of-date or biased.
  • Because there is often so much information, it can be hard to identify the most relevant sources.
  • Google only searches the public web. Over 90% of information is found in the deep web.
  • Information can be updated almost immediately.

Well done!

Google does have its advantages, but remember to be mindful of its limitations for your research.

Which of the following statements are advantages or disadvantages of Google and Wikipedia?

Statements

  • Not all information is credible on the internet - anyone can publish anything.
  • Finding information is quick and easy.
  • Easy access to non-text sources such as measurement data, images and video.
  • It may be difficult to know if the information is out-of-date or biased.
  • Because there is often so much information, it can be hard to identify the most relevant sources.
  • Google only searches the public web. Over 90% of information is found in the deep web.
  • Information can be updated almost immediately.

Answers

Advantages

  • Finding information is quick and easy.
  • Easy access to non-text sources such as measurement data, images and video.
  • Information can be updated almost immediately.
Disadvantages
  • Not all information is credible on the internet - anyone can publish anything.
  • It may be difficult to know if the information is out-of-date or biased.
  • Because there is often so much information, it can be hard to identify the most relevant sources.
  • Google only searches the public web. Over 90% of information is found in the deep web.

Both Google and Wikipedia can be used for a basic overview and to find background or general information about your topic. However, they do have serious limitations for academic research.

Watch the video to find out more about using Google and Wikipedia for your research.

 

To see a list of the best databases your topic area, choose your Subject Guide.

Use the RMIT Google Scholar link, that way your search results will include resources from some of the RMIT Library online collections.

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