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Select the appropriate search tool

The search tools you have access to, and what they cover

Depending on your topic, you might want to search any one of the tools listed in this highly simplified diagram. The tools are listed in order of size, Google being the largest and each of the specialised databases being the smallest.

 For a description of these search tools click on the following links:

  1. Google - How Search Works (5 min video)
  2. Google Scholar
  3. Discovery
  4. Specialized databases (use the subject guides to find your field of study)

Searching is partly a creative process where you explore a variety of search tools to find the relevant information you need. Before choosing your search tool(s), ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Who produces or publishes the information I need?
  2. How do they distribute that information?

If you are just getting started with an unfamiliar topic, or if you are searching for material published by either government bodies, companies, or research/policy groups, Google can be the best tool for your needs. Open websites such as Wiikipedia can provide a useful overview of a new topics and position you to then find more the credible literature that you can cite in your paper. Government bodies, companies, or research/policy groups, often publish their material on the open internet, so Google is the bets place to look for their works.

If you are looking for matrial from scholars, you should start at the RRU Library homepage and use either Google Scholar, Discovery or a subject specific database. Scholarly material is often published behind 'paywalls' which you can often bypass by starting your literature searches on the library homepage.

It is important to start your Google Scholar searches from the Library Homepage. While this does not change which citations show up in your results, it can simplify your access to the articles themselves. On the right side of your Google Scholar results, for every article held in the RRU collection there will be a ‘Full text @ RRU’ link which will lead you to the full text.

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