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SPC 1608 - Stein (Dale Mabry): Google Smartly

Links and tips for your library research.

Evaluate what you're finding online!

Ask yourself: Is what I'm finding reliable? Test your sources against this checklist from the Modern Language Association (MLA):

This checklist will help you determine whether a source is likely to provide credible, trustworthy information. The link opens to a downloadable document.

More website evaluation tools

Think carefully about the sources you are finding and using. Here are some tools that can help:

Currency - How recent is the information?

Reliability - What kind of information is included in the resource? Is it balanced? Does the creator provide references or sources for data or quotations?

Authority - Who is the creator or author? Who is the publisher or sponsor? What is the author's or publisher's interest (if any) in this information?

Accuracy - Is the content readable? Is the content truthful? Is the content correct?

  • Purpose/Point of View - Is this fact or opinion? Is the creator/author trying to sell you something; persuade you about something?

Tips for smart googling--Scholar + Advanced Google Search


Image of a Google Scholar Search showing links to content in HCC Libraries.

How to find your library's institution code and create a link that will search and provide results for your library:

Advanced Google Search

Google Web Search

You can make your Google web search more precise. For example:

  • You can limit a search to a specific domain (such as .edu or .gov, often the most reliable for research) - or website. 
  • Just add "site:" to your search terms, as seen below:
    • “global warming”  site: .gov
    • “global warming”  site:
    • “global warming”  site: edu
    • “global warming”  site: 

Here are Google's own search tips.

For an online form that you can fill in, try Google Advanced Search.

What about Wikipedia?

Wikipedia can give you quick background for your own knowledge and help you orient yourself to a topic if you know nothing about it

You may get ideas for search terms and key words to use in library tools.

While in most cases professors will not accept a Wikipedia entry as a cited source, the links at the end of it (pointing to sources that editors used) may lead you to citable sources.