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Search for Articles: General Search Tips

Where Should You Search?

If you want...

A general introduction to a topic, use an Internet search

Very current news, use an Internet search

Current or older/archived news, use newspaper databases

Scholarly content, use:

Keywords for Your Search

Use words that would be used in your desired result. Sometimes, academic language is different than the common language used on the web. For example: 

  • On Google, you might search: why does the earth spin?
  • In an academic database, you might search: earth rotation

Search for an Exact Phrase

Use quotation marks to find results that only have those words appearing right next to each other. This gives you fewer, more relevant results. For example: 

  • Earth rotation = 149 million results on Google
  • “Earth rotation” = 2.8 million results on Google

Scholarly or Popular

Most of the content you find with a search engine is not considered scholarly. It may be a news or blog article, but to professors, articles often means academic, peer-reviewed articles.

Most library search tools will let you limit to scholarly content. Google and Google Scholar do not.  

Ask your professor about what type of article source you can use.

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